US when there is nothing to do: Luca Arena’s authentic images of a New York heatwave

For his latest series, US when there is nothing to do, Italian photographer Luca Arena took to the streets of New York during a scorching summer when residents take refuge in offices, shops and air-conditioned homes.

All images courtesy of Luca Arena. Via Creative Boom submission.

All images courtesy of Luca Arena. Via Creative Boom submission.

Inspired by the paintings by Edward Hopper, David Hockney and Mark Rothko, as well as photographs by Luigi Ghirri and Josef Hoflehner, the result is a set of authentic imagery documenting people alone in the city. Isolated from the crowd, they walk around the city or visit public pools to cool down whilst maintaining a safe distance from others.

“With the right commitment it is possible to distinguish New Yorkers from tourists, but above all to represent the city, its places and hidden neighbourhoods, so as to be able to perceive the energy of cement,” says Luca.

“We try to get closer to the ground, to the clay fields and the well-kept green parks while the skyscrapers grow and touch the sky. From the windows of the attics, they scan the horizon, from the sidewalk they look upwards and never meet.”

Luca travels the world for his photography, having previously explored Iceland and Tenerife. He likes to capture the lines and geometries of buildings and windows in his photographs and, despite being colour-blind, is very attached to the theme of colour and how it relates to the environment.

Discover more of Luca’s work at


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