Matt Weber | New York Street Photographs

Mr. Weber began driving a yellow cab in the late 70s – a thrilling experience for a twenty-year old at the cusp of discovering the intensity of life in the streets of his native New York. His night shifts would take him to new neighborhoods, and everywhere he looked he would witness crazy, brutal but also funny scenes on public display. Soon he bought his first $150 Canon, taught himself to develop film at home, and the city became his hunting ground.

In his early black and white work, Mr. Weber focused on what he calls “the leftovers from Walker Evans’ days” – old bars with their neon signs and the crumbling buildings in Harlem, untouched parts of the subway system, the garment district, and Coney Island. Many of these cityscapes became iconic images in their own right or provided the backdrop for human landscapes. Two reoccurring themes in Weber’s thirty-year career are the public kiss and the public brawl – in either scenario participants act out intensely personal emotional states. “It’s the two ends of the spectrum, love and anger – both show people when they’re peaking”, Weber says.

Mr. Weber prefers to work spontaneously rather than planning or calculating too much. He is very much aware of the fine line that separates unnecessary hesitation from overstepping boundaries to get a shot that does not need to be taken in the first place. He almost never takes photographs of people with deformities or victims or serious accidents, but reserves the right to take pictures of anyone, if the result is more than just a depiction of their own misfortune. "Naturally, as you get older and hopefully better, what once may have seemed acceptable is no longer enough to please you. That makes the game a lot harder to play", he says.

– Peter Fahrni

Matt Weber's photographs are featured in the New York Times, Popular Photography, Hamburger Eyes, Daily News, and many other print and online venues.

His monograph The Urban Prisoner was published in 2004 by Sanctuary Books, and a number of his prints are held in the collections of Todd Oldham and Richard Prince. Some of his iconic images appear in Ken Burns film The Central Park Five or may be encountered on T-shirts or by Zoo York. Weber is the subject of More than the Rainbow, a full length documentary. He is represented by Harper Levine, East Hampton N.Y.