Like many British people, I have a particular fascination with America and its culture, and my bucket list includes at least 10 places I simply must explore there before I pop my clogs (if you're American and don't know what that means, it's basically before I'm dead and buried). It's why I'm especially happy to discover the latest work of Tom Arndt, a notable photographer who is famous for his portraits of Midwesterners.
New York's Howard Greenberg Gallery is to present an exhibition of recent photographs by Arndt from 25 May until early July 2017. Tom Arndt: Where I Live marks the first show of his work in the Big Apple in more than 10 years.
Featuring more than 35 images from 2015 to 2016, the exhibition captures the character of Arndt’s native Minnesota (as well as North Dakota and Montana). He portrays everyday citizens – in their coffee shops and soda fountains, their streets, their parks, and at state fairs. A consistently resourceful street photographer, Arndt captures fleeting gestures and momentary juxtapositions between people and their surroundings, finding in them a sense of emotional or psychological depth.
Arndt photographs at traditional American events – a Memorial Day celebration, a demolition derby, an Indian Days event by the Blackfeet Indians of Browning, Montana. In every scene, he distills a purity and humanity in day-to-day life. He captures an elderly WWII veteran by a gravesite in West St. Paul, Minnesota; a young girl marching in the Parade of the Bands in Benson, Minnesota; and demolition derby drivers in New Ulm, Minnesota.
By allowing people’s lives to speak for themselves, Arndt’s photographs reveal the often forgotten moments that build common bridges. He approaches his subjects with honesty and humanity, and what emerges is a portrait of American culture that is at once familiar and surprisingly intimate. Tom Arndt has said "I am like the people that I photograph. I am not traveling through".
Images copyright Tom Arndt, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery | Main image: Flag Dancer, Parade of Bands, Benson, Minnesota, 2015