Quick road from Wall St. to national photographic winner

Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic Max Taylor, a FiDi resident, worked in finance before deciding to focus on photography.

Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
Max Taylor, a FiDi resident, worked in finance before deciding to focus on photography.

BY DUSICA SUE MALESVIC  |   Financial District resident Max Taylor decided to enter a photo contest for the first time — and won, beating out over 30,000 submissions.

“It is kind of still settling with me,” the 25-year-old photographer said.

The #ItsAmazingOutThere national contest was sponsored by the Weather Channel and Toyota. Taylor was checking out the Weather Channel website for lightning strike updates when he saw the call for photos and submitted three images. 

Taylor’s award-winning shot was taken off the coast of Thailand.

Taylor’s award-winning shot was taken off the coast of Thailand.

The winner titled “An 8 Meter Whale Shark Glides Through a School of Jacks” showcases the shark swimming away and surrounded by jack fish in the stark blue water of the Andaman Sea off Thailand’s coast.

The barracudas and jack fish “were so dense, you couldn’t see the surface,” said Taylor, as he described his underwater photo expedition that he took with his father, a former professional photographer.

He saw two eyes coming at him and was getting as nervous as the massive shark, whose spots in photos he described looked like “runway lights,” passed three feet away from him.

“He took my breath away,” said the Seattle native, who started diving when he was 16, mostly in the Puget Sound.

His photo was selected by a panel made up of three photographers and the editor-in-chief of weather.com.

Taylor, after attending the University of Washington in Seattle and graduating with a degree in finance, moved to the Financial District in the fall of 2011. He worked at a small investment advisory business. 

“I’ve always loved the markets,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

At first, he did not have the same passion for photography as he did for finance, but to deal with the job’s stresses, he started running four to seven miles a day after work and noticed funny local scenes that he wanted to shoot.

“I should capture this with something better than a cell phone camera,” he said.

Then Hurricane Sandy hit. Taylor was without water and electricity for 25 days and said there were fish in his lobby. Six months later, he decided to leave his finance position and focus on photography.

The first serious photo he took featured Battery Park’s famed turkey, Zelda, in the foreground, the colors of her feathers pronounced, while a bus zoomed past her in the background. 

Taylor said he likes shooting mostly at night with a long exposure and inclement weather — his portfolio includes shots of the Brooklyn Bridge consumed by fog and a January shot of a flock of seagulls flying past the Seaport.

Along with his website, loosecanonnyc.com, he has set up a stand to sell his photographs at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side. 

“It’s been a really rewarding experience. I get to hear people say ‘wow,’” he said. People also take photos of his pictures, which highlight different parts of the city such as Little Italy, the Seaport, the New York Stock Exchange, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

With the $15,000 prize, Taylor plans on paying school loans, rent, and then using the money to travel after his lease is up in November. He plans on returning to FiDi in the spring and perhaps set up a pop-up photo gallery.

“There is a really great community down here,” he said.

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