This is taken from E.B. White's Here Is New York:
"We see New York, and sometimes, as Henry James asked us to, we “do it”—explore and conquer it—but what we see when we see it is so far unlike what we experience when we’re doing it that the difference itself can become a subject for art. The city sneaks up on us in pictures, and we are startled to see what it looks like even when what it looks like is just us, doing what we really do. We respond to truthful depictions of New York with the same surprise that we feel when we hear a recording of our own voice.
This surprise is one of the subjects of the extraordinary, lost—or, actually, never found in the first place—American photographer Jerry Shore. Shore did New York, was done by it, and then became a kind of artist-martyr to the act of seeing it."
Question: Can someone instantiate “did New York” and “was done by it”? Since “do New York” is defined as “explore and conquer it” in the first paragraph, “did NY” should mean the same thing, that is, explore and conquer NY. But when he was done by New York, what does that mean? My interpretation is he met difficulty or even failed in doing NY. Hence the following sentence “became a kind of artist-martyr to the act of seeing it”. Thanks
Yes, you are right in your assessment.
New York is a tough town to survive in - especially for an artist. So it can "do" one in.