“[The images in my series] may be slightly romanticised, but I really do love New York,” photographer Daniel Weiss tells It’s Nice That. Daniel’s images are American through and through, documenting everything from Elvis impersonators to bowling alleys and motorcycle racers. Although his subjects are wide-ranging as well as captivating, it is his ongoing series New York, depicting the city where he was born and bred, that particularly caught our eye.
“I have always been around cameras,” Daniel explains. Both his mother and his aunt were artists and it was the latter who leant him his first camera to use on summer trips to Cape Cod. “Almost immediately, I knew it was for me,” he recalls. After taking photography classes in high school, his father bought him his own camera and he’s never stopped shooting since, making his way through rolls and rolls of black and white film. “Although I do shoot in colour, New York is almost always in black and white,” Daniel explains. When he first discovered his love for “the magic of the darkroom,” it was New York that provided him with a subject and the beginning of a decade-long project.
Although the earliest images in New York were taken in 2006, they have the quality of something much older. The high-contrast characters coupled with Daniel’s snapshot style compositions make reference to the work of many of the great American photographers, such as Garry Winogrand or Robert Frank. Featuring both strangers and friends and with too many stories to recall (“maybe that’s for my memoirs” he jokes), New York demonstrates the narrative abilities of street photography as a genre.
In choosing who and what to document, Daniel’s photographs portray a city full of life and unexpected happenings. “I’ve never lived anywhere else,” he comments, “so I’m trying to portray a New York that may not quite exist, but is my ideal version of it.” In creating such a cohesive body of work, Daniel tells the story of the New York that he knows – the one he grew up with.
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