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Photo by Daniel Arnold.  For anyone hoping to develop a large following online, Daniel Arnold seems to have it made. A Brooklyn-based street photographer and 1998 Nicolet High School graduate, he regularly shares images with more than 100,000 Instagram followers (instagram.com/arnold_daniel), compositions that can be brazenly banal or incisively odd. Earlier this year, on his […]


Photo by Daniel Arnold. 

For anyone hoping to develop a large following online, Daniel Arnold seems to have it made. A Brooklyn-based street photographer and 1998 Nicolet High School graduate, he regularly shares images with more than 100,000 Instagram followers (instagram.com/arnold_daniel), compositions that can be brazenly banal or incisively odd. Earlier this year, on his 34th birthday, he raised $15,000 in just 24 hours by selling prints for a cool $150, but he’s not rolling in dough. “Many times, I’ve overdrawn my bank account paying the cab to the airport,” he says. “Eating is my first priority, and I make sure that happens.”

Arnold, who shoots with a battered iPhone 5 and a 35-mm camera, moved to NYC in 2003, and the stories he snaps there – an overweight man on a folding chair outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a woman in a convenience store clutching a doll as if it were a child – combine the random indifference of the passerby with a keen appreciation for the mystery of the everyday. Although it’s easy to suspect a sideshow sensibility in Arnold’s sometimes curious images, he says he has “a lot of affection for people.
At least strangers. People I know are harder to like.”

His started out as a writer, rolling out web copy for MTV and profiles for The Fader. “I’d have a half-hour phone call with some band in some far away state – not people I was a fan of, just some group I got thrown on the phone with, and I had to figure out what quirk was worth fixating on to tell the story. Writing burned me out so bad. I kind of find the same creative satisfaction in photography, without any of the misery.”

While he covered Paris Fashion Week for Vogue this fall, Arnold doesn’t mind taking on far humbler gigs, like weddings. “The energy is so high, and everyone is unguarded,” he says. “I get to do it for people who appreciate my weirdo, unflattering photos. And not worry about getting everybody in a line with their eyes open.” 

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— By Thomas Connors

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