The Rabbit Hole: Street Photography



I obsess over things for weeks and then ignore them completely for the rest of my life. Here’s what I’ve been obsessing over for the past four weeks: Street Photography
NSFW: There are some boobs about half way into this post.

Daniel Arnold

This dive into the Rabbit Hole began with a Vogue video about street photographer Daniel Arnold.





I’m a sucker for videos that are edited like this (with little illustrations over the film, choppy but easy to follow editing, and great pacing). So then I was like, “I gotta check this Daniel Arnold guy out! He seems cool!”

So I found his website, his tumblr, his Instagram profile, and a bunch of interviews he’s done.

About Daniel Arnold: This guy is a street photographer who got famous for A) his photos (duh!); B) making hella money by selling prints on Instagram on his birthday when he was broke as fuck and couldn’t pay rent; and C) getting kicked off of Instagram for posting boobs.

The scandalous boob photo.

Some interviews/chats with Daniel Arnold:

On the Prowl With Instagram’s Ultimate Street Photographer | WIRED

Daniel Arnold’s Tongue-in-Cheek Take on New York Style – The New York Times

Interview with Daniel Arnold – YouTube

Seeing New York through Daniel Arnold’s Eyes | Like Art – YouTube

Street Photography

So, while browsing all the interviews, I came across this one on Vimeo.

I found out that this was a bonus feature to a whole documentary about street photography that features some of the coolest NYC-based artists.

And then I spent $12 to buy the documentary on Vimeo and another $10 to buy snacks and have a little screening at home with some friends.

That led me to a street photography binge and developing three rolls of film from the summer of 2013. I’m now one of those people who buys film and uses a shitty old Olympus Mju (that I confiscated from my mum in exchange for my DSLR which I never use anyway). I’m that guy. I’m not ashamed of it, but I’m not exactly proud of it either. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway, this Everybody Street documentary is great. It features everything you’d expect:

  • Young people
  • Old people
  • Pretentious “I only do film photography because ART”
  • Normal people that are happy digital cameras make photography accessible to millions
  • Badass old woman who took pictures of cops and firefighters and could probably kick your ass.
  • Creepy old guys who obviously use photography as a lawful outlet for their creepiness
  • Some history of New York, photography in general, and street photography in particular.

Highly recommended. A solid 8/10. It covers a good deal of the style’s history, NYC’s history, the personal stories of 13 modern photographers, as well as an excursus into early adepts of street photography and their influence.

If you enjoy this documentary, I highly recommend Bill Cunningham’s New York as well. He passed away recently, but he had a momentous influence on the entire art form. The documentary strikes a great balance between showcasing his work and revealing small tidbits of his personality. It gives just enough information to pique and satisfy your curiosity, but not enough to give direct answers to all your questions.

Some Links

  • 13thWitness: he’s HUGE on Instagram. One of the true OGs. I discovered him through his Vimeo channel back when I was really into skateboarding. This was the video. Fun fact: he’s the son of legendary New York street artist Futura2000 who once commented on my Instagram and then thought I couldn’t take a joke. In a parallel universe, I’d have used an emoji to avoid this misunderstanding and we’d be best friends.
  • Trashhand: he’s a street photographer with a lot of pictures of the cold, windy streets of Chicago. If I had to, I’d name him The Godfather of the cold, metallic picture filter/VSCO preset. I haven’t done my research, but that style every Instagrammer in New York and Chicago emulates? The influence of Trashhand and 13thWitness.
  • Craig Simmonds: Craig is a British photographer and YouTuber with a real passion for film (both the 35mm kind and the “win an Oscar” kind). Although he doesn’t share his work often, his website highlights some of his university photography projects, and his personal Tumblr is a great example of how sticking to photography eventually leads to developing a recognizable personal style.
  • Negative Feedback: A very chill YouTube channel that focuses on film photography, reviews, and tips.
  • Jill Freedman: The most badass photographer from the Everybody Street documentary.

More to come soon. I swoop in and out of being obsessed with photography about twice a year, so I’ll be sharing more sometime in November. 😆


3 responses to “The Rabbit Hole: Street Photography”

  1. This is sooo interesting.
    The first video is great! And I’m definitely checking out the documentary.
    The only street photographer I follow is tahaphoto based in Toronto. He shoots most of his stuff with his phone. Check him out, maybe you’ll like his style.

  2. ffsanton

    Finally carved out some time to check @tahaphoto out. I think the only time I’ve hit that “follow” button that quickly was when I found 13thwintess’s instagram and Daniel Arnold’s. Nice. Thank you for the recommendation!

  3. Sure thing!