I’m not much for artist’s statements. I feel the photo should be able to stand on
its own and not need a chapter of esoteric bullshit to justify it. Neither am I one to
write or hire authors to write long justifications and explanation for my books. My
photo illustrated artist’s books are well known for their economy of text. But
everyone is not visually oriented and the intellectuals like to see some words, so
let me give it a go.
If I had to sum up my interest in photography…it must stem from a liking to being
able to ‘freeze time.’ Cartier-Bresson described how many a street photographer
feels when at large…”I prowled the streets all day, feeling very sprung-up and
ready to pounce, determined to ‘trap’ life – to preserve life in the act of living.”
And that pretty much describes me to a proverbial ‘T.’ As an example, when
working the subway in NYC I generally hop on the first or last car and at every
stop I move to the next car to have a fresh look at the world with the hope of
finding something interesting to document.
Now, combine that frantic need to see and record with a dose of Elliott Erwitt…”I
just take pictures and hope something comes out of it.”
Erwitt’s quote reminds me that luck is a big factor in getting that iconic shot and to
try and keep a big ego in check. Street photographers are not cut from the same
cloth as studio photographers or sunset specialists. With my type of work, having a
big ego and being a little off your rocker helps get the shot when the need to shove
your camera in some strangers face at 2 AM arises. To do good street photography,
societal conventions can not always be maintained.
Photography of all genres trains practitioners to concentrate their vision and see
things the average person may overlook. Before I was a photographer, I would
seldom look at the small details or focus on a subject for any length of time.
Now I notice the beauty of a weathered wall. I see potential for a photo in a dusty
window screen. In short, photographers are always looking. We look at everything,
visualizing play of light, composition, shapes, color, patterns and especially in my
case people. For the social documentarian our work is based on humanity…people
are our landscape!
There is something that transforms the snapshot into a photograph. A spark of
alchemy the photographer uses that turns the ordinary photo into something that is
worthy of a second look. That elusive transformation is what I set out to capture in
In a 1979 interview entitled Inside New York’s Art World, artist Louise Nevelson
said: “I think that when someone is willing to live and die for something…that
means it is in the genes.” That pretty much sums up the sacrifices that many an
artist will go through in order to do their art – they are willing to live and die for
their art. Whether painter, draftsman, photographer, writer, musician, sculptor,
actor or poet, artists use their art as a way to see, interpret and make sense of their
If you’re dedicated to your art and freezing time is in your blood, you MUST
produce and keep producing, whether you have an outlet or not to make $…or
even have any practical use for your output. Irrespective of recognition, fame and
riches, we all have one thing in common…as long as we can keep pressing the
button and freeze time, we feel the better for it.
Faces of Gentrification 2013
by Daniel D.Teoli Jr.
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Archival Collection
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Small Gauge Film Archive
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. VHS Video Archive
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Audio Archive
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Advertising Archive
Daniel D.Teoli Jr. Social Documentary Photography