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A man holding a big teddy bear passes by a Cartier billboard on 59th Street, New York.
A man holding a big teddy bear passes by a Cartier billboard on 59th Street, New York, Dec. 21st, 2013.Natan Dvir—Polaris Images/Anastasia Photo
A man holding a big teddy bear passes by a Cartier billboard on 59th Street, New York.
A woman holding a red shopping bag passes by a Fendi billboard on Madison Avenue, New York, June 21, 2014.
A man wearing a Santa Claus hat promotes Comedy Central next to a Vornado billboard in Times Square, New York, Dec 12, 2013.
A man begs for money next to a construction site of a new Ralph Lauren flagship store on Fifth Avenue, New York, June 21, 2014.
Construction workers take a break next to a Fendi billboard on 57th Street and Madison Avenue, New York, Oct 30, 2014.
A man pushes a cart containing a wrapped Christmas Tree next to a DSquared2 billboard on West Broadway Avenue, New York, Dec. 12, 2014.
A construction worker enjoys a cigarette break next to a Fendi billboard on Madison Avenue, New York, Nov. 09, 2014.
Coming Soon - New Pieces
Coming Soon - New Pieces
A woman checks her phone next to the construction site of a new Zara store in downtown Manhattan, New York, Dec 17, 2014.
A man holding a big teddy bear passes by a Cartier billboard on 59th Street, New York, Dec. 21st, 2013.
Natan Dvir—Polaris Images/Anastasia Photo
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See New Yorkers Dwarfed by Huge Advertisements

Feb 27, 2015

Natan Dvir headed for Times Square when he arrived in New York in 2008. But unlike the tourists he found there, the photographer hadn't made the trek to pose in front of giant LCD screens. Instead, he was there, in his own words, to observe how it acts as a microcosm of the city as a whole.

"It's like the very fabric of New York City is an advertisement," Dvir tells TIME. "Times Square is an extreme example, but everywhere you go [in New York] people look like that are inhabiting a space dominated by advertising -- whether it's billboards or otherwise. It's almost like they are pulled into a stage or a set."

The images he shot that day -- which were taken on a nearby section of Fifth Avenue -- developed into Coming Soon, a long-term project that took six years to complete. Dvir says the work is an attempt to explore the relationship between what he sees as branded downtowns and the people who inhabit them.

"I’m fascinated by the growing branding of the cityscape, where the city becomes an advertising medium," he continues. "For me, the street sort of merges with the commercial fantasy of the advertisements."

Here, the imagery in the billboards seems to blend with the pedestrians walking beneath. Pedestrians that are seemingly unaware of the billboards behind them, despite their imposing presence. "They always seem to be in our peripheral vision," Dvir adds, "it's like they are there and not there at once."

Natan Dvir is a photographer based in New York. His work has been published the New York Times, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal and the Sunday Times, among others.

Richard Conway is reporter/producer for TIME LightBox.

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