Mark S. Kornbluth (United States 1966 -)


Artist Statement:

Photographing people on location in New York City has called me ever since I first visited thirty years ago. The city became the main subject of my work in the Spring of 2020. My life is deeply tied to this city, Times Square and to Broadway. It started here, and I always return to this place; I did theatre professionally, and many of my close friends still do.

I started this series with the intention to dramatize the language and narrative in the signage, contrasted with the stillness of the mise-en-scene. Despite the sudden and lasting emptiness that the pandemic gave rise to, I discovered a delightful tension, a sense of Broadway waiting for the promise and renewal that art invariably brings. I’m deeply curious about relationships between objects, how emotions are rooted in time and place, and how to create the power of a shared experience.

This exploration opened up a greater curiosity about the ways in which the city lived during and after a drought. Candida Höfer said, "What people do in spaces – and what these spaces do to them – is clearer when no one is present, just as an absent guest is often the subject of a conversation." So I am seeking to be everywhere where there is nobody. I was curious to see how the atmosphere of the city varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, and why. Thomas Struth said, "The urban structure is an accretion of so many decisions." Finding empty streets allows me to explore these questions.

I love the way that the ambient light at night, billboards and street lights became my studio lights, illuminating the grandeur that has always been, and remains unique to New York City. The images that emerge are more than just one snapshot, one frame, in a lot of cases more than one night. Like Mr. Struth, "I am constructing images, and in this respect they are like a painting...”

My intention is to communicate how New York City captivates me visually and the emotions I feel "in real time." I invite my audience to view these images as I have come to see them, as windows through which memory and time work in both directions --we need only look a little closer to know we will someday return, together.

Ansel Adams wrote: “A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels.” I have been infatuated with New York City for decades. I hope you will take the time to explore these images, and are also filled with the same wonder and awe that I am when wandering the city streets.