David Wolf Photographs

Street Level presents a sidewalk stage where passersby take part in a silent drama that extends beyond the specifics of personality and place.

Largely introspective, each person photographed remains a mystery to us: a quality enhanced by the capricious effects of movement recorded by the camera, as well as the darker tonality of the prints themselves.

“What can we ever truly know of another person,” these images seem to ask, “regardless how distinctive or familiar someone may at first appear?” Even those people who turn toward us, looking into the camera, cannot be grasped fully.

What do we see? Curiosity? Defiance? Fear? Their thoughts and emotions remain out of view.

Street Level is the first of several, related series in which I photograph people from a single vantage point over time. What emerges here is a broader portrait of human being, rather than pictures of individuated subjects. The strict parameters of the fixed frame create a contradiction: our attention is focused on the individual people in front of us, yet our lasting impression is of their universal, timeless humanity.