A former Citigroup financier of 20 years, Chris Arnade, became disillusioned by the narrow-mindedness and greediness of the corporate world. As a way to escape his unhappiness in Wall Street, he started taking long walks with camera in hand. He strolled through Hunts Point in the Bronx, one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. It was there, while on a walk around town, where he met a very friendly and honest prostitute named Takeesha.
She opened up, he photographed her. Astonished by her honesty, Chris insisted in creating a positive and honest image of her friend Takeesha.
From then on his life changed for the better. He traded his job for his new-found hobby: Taking honest and vibrant photographs of prostitutes, homeless people, and drug addicts in the South Bronx. He would not only take photographs of them, but he would also get acquainted and makes friends with these ‘rejects of society.’
“Hunts Point is a dark cloud with a silver lining. It’s people who are seemingly in the lowest of the low positions who are still somehow resilient. Those moments of resilience can be very optimistic.”
Although there are many whom are against his work (some calling it ‘exploitative’), Arnade stands by his images and his daily walks with pride. In a way, this is Arnade’s way to give back. See, Aranade grew up with the Catholic Church, a doctrine which taught him to do good in order to make up for the sins he’s committed in the past. Although always a very honest man, Arnade’s past with Wall Street haunts him daily, and his new found love of the camera and new friends make up for the piled guilt he felt for many years.
I want to make conventional portraits for unconventional people.
His images are simple, yet quite powerful. He captures these reject’s livelihood in a very honest and nonchalant way. The background is their native space and not a studio. Their clothes is not borrowed, but its theirs. Arnade’s images are crammed with damaged, but optimistic outlooks- he does not what to portray anything different; vulnerability is key. (via PolicyMic)