The first time I saw one of Daniel’s shots, I thought about it for a week. Then I spent hours on his website, scrolling through pages of captured moments. Daniel takes the types of photos I wish I could take. Little glimpses into a space and time where for a brief second, worlds collide. Click. A street photographer in the truest sense, his photos are never staged – meaning there’s a story behind every scene.
Words and photography by Daniel Arnold
I was eating drunk man noodles in the window at Amarin on Manhattan Avenue. It was maybe 7pm and a policeman came running down the middle of the street out front, with his gun drawn. Then another one. This was very odd to see and I put down my noodles and then a silver car skidded in from the other direction, accompanied by what looked to be every cop in town, and they all stopped directly in front of me. Unbelievable. Squad cars swarmed and the cops really ripped this guy, a tough young Euro guy, maybe Albanian, with a shaved head and sneakers, they ripped him right out of his car and slammed his face on the middle of the street and showed him who was boss in a way that was disgusting to see. I shot twice through the window, the first time with unintended flash, and was sure I couldn’t do this situation justice from inside. So I walked out the door, pointed my camera at the tackled Euro, now in handcuffs, and my heart was pounding, and I paused to make sure I got it right, and when I paused a second car door opened and a screaming woman came barreling toward me and when she screamed “Don’t you fucking dare motherfucker,” that’s when I pushed the button. It was his girlfriend and she wanted to break my camera and kick my face, she kept saying, but the cops were there and they grabbed her right before she got to me and said to her nicely, “Come on, what are you doing?”
I was at a park in Queens I’d never been to before, walking in the late afternoon with two friends, one very old and one very new, and we were on a path alongside some tennis courts with woods on the other side at the time of day when everything is getting dark blue, at the start of Fall but still warm out, and 100 feet in front of us five kids come screaming sprinting out of the woods and start pulling their shirts off and stomping them and jumping up and down on them like bees were on them. I walk up and say what’s going on and the kids are in a total panic, whooping and talking all at the same time, saying that they had just seen a voodoo in the woods. A voodoo? Yeah a voodoo. I asked what a voodoo was and they said like a curse, like a dead cat hung up in a tree. That’s what they saw. I tell them “Can we see the voodoo? Will you show us the voodoo?” and they say yeah and walk us into the woods up a hill and around some turns and take us to the spot but there’s nothing there and they don’t even act surprised or try to look harder, they just say oh that’s weird and leave. This is a picture of those liars right before we didn’t see the voodoo.
These very strong muscular brothers got their apartment torn down to make a condo and their mom died and everything, it was terrible, everybody knew about it from the news etc, so now every day after school they go to the spot where their old place was, the empty lot, and one brother stomps the concrete til it snaps off in a chunk, and the other brother who is more of a slow and steady type, pushes the chunk into the sea, so that the condo will have to be built on the sea. Just kidding. All the other ones are true.
One night my roommate was so messy, she’s always bringing trash in off the street saying it’s amazing, or throwing wrappers and bites of cooked rice and other food on the carpet, anyway I’m used to it and it’s fine but one night she was so messy that I decided to just carry this three-foot plastic Joseph statuette that we got off the street after Christmas one year, I decide to walk him over to the river and just throw him in. It’s only three blocks from our apartment, the river, and somebody sees me and that snaps me out of this very insane plan and I feel bad so I take a picture for my roommate of Joseph floating by, but then I remember that actually I’m the one who brought him into the house to begin with, not my roommate.
This beautiful woman, probably a model, got so drunk that she fell on her face, and even her boyfriend who was holding her up against a wall couldn’t stop it. Her legs crisscrossed and he wasn’t paying attention and she went down hard and scraped some skin off her left eye. But that’s not this picture. This picture is a minute after that when her boyfriend goes to get the car and asks the bouncer, a stranger, if he’ll hold his girlfriend up against the wall for him until he comes back. Incredibly, the bouncer does this favor and that is how the photo came to be.