MANIFESTO

#63

CHANGE OF SPACE

A HUMAN EXPERIENCE

2023.10.27

Text by Lucrezia Sgualdino

DANIEL ARNOLD: NEW YORK LIFE

 

American photographer Daniel Arnold brings to the stage his practice, a representation of images that are not perfect, but dictated by the urgency and impulse to tell a true and immediate reality. Shots that become an almost unintentional documentation of everyday life.

New York is the city where he lives and works, and the main subject of his photography. His creative approach expands from the immediate curiosity of capturing an ordinary scene, to the emotional insight of being in front of what the watcher’s attentive eyes hope to recognise in the shots. Arnold manages to tell the heart of everything that happens around us, in a world where little attention is now paid to reality, his desire is to bring attention back to the true authenticity of moments. Within each of his images we find great dramas, but also trivially sublime scenes, actions of life that each of us realises we habitually perform in the same way, or with personal and different characteristics, as many other people. No matter whether it is New York, London or Milan, his photography considers itself universal, capturing people running, stumbling and loafing on sidewalks, on the subway, chatting in the park, at the beach and on the ferry. Time in his representations seems to stand still for an instant, in a bubble suspended between the person and the surrounding setting, which seems to prove to be devoid of deep sentimentality, but rather a mirror of a common, strange, but altogether interesting moment, to try to establish an inner dialogue with the portrayed vision.

Coney Midway, 2014.
East River Ferry and Brooklyn Bridge, 2013.

“I have such a relationship with the city. I sort of now feel like the city has a relationship back with me.”

– Daniel Arnold

Arnold’s photographs collect a truly large and disparate cast of characters, improbably assembled on the streets of a city. People who, at first glance, appear archetypal or stereotypical are soon revealed by their incompatibilities with one another, showing the uncanny nature of subjects captured without pretence. Through the pure and transparent lens, cliché-soaked metropolitan scenes are distilled in a simple but effective way, becoming raw, strange, humorous and miraculous. In the photographer’s universe, there is no right or wrong moment, nor even a perfect shot. What one recognises within it is the impulse to load a new roll of film and take the next photo, without pausing for a moment and especially without thinking too hard. Each photograph is indicative of a particular place and time, the breadth and scope of his work forming a larger, composite picture of city life today. In New York, Arnold finds in every moment a continuous muse, one that never ceases to inspire and attract him. 

Central Park (Sheep Meadow), 2017.

Daniel Arnold: New York Life is on view at New York Life Gallery from October 27th until December 22nd. For further information newyorklifegallery.com.

Prince and Broadway, 2022.
44th and Broadway, 2019.
59th and Grand Army Plaza, 2021.
Pulitzer Plaza, 2021.
47th and 6th, 2022.
81st and Shore Front, 2018.
Coney Island (15th and Riegelmann Boardwalk), 2018.

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