Mariel Miranda : City Life

My name is Mariel Miranda and I am a New York City based photographer.  My two primary cameras of choice are a 45mm Olympus and my phone.

Much of the images I am drawn to are set within city life so a certain level of discretion or preparedness that only my camera phone can equip me with is required.

For every photographer (or hell every artist in any medium) there is a small window of time to make the shot without disturbing what’s naturally and objectively there within view.  This weird task mirrors deep anxieties I have within myself to draw from what’s really there without going noticed.  City life I have found is a perfect world to do that in.  In a city you can draw ideas of who you are and who others might be if you embrace what’s inherently there….a bunch of shadows, silhouettes and blurs that don’t have any real boundaries or distinctions; the world around you isn’t as far apart as you’d like it to be, and everyone struggles to maintain their own place in time.

The city is fleeting, and the faces of people so ghostly and lovely.  There’s a linear blur to be followed throughout the subway carts and streets.  This blur connects everyone together in some weird mesh of dirty color and soiled shadow where everyone is stuck together in some quiet well behaved disjointedness.  I believe this is called alienation and much of these narrow faded images of strangers and buildings reflect who I am in that world.

White Women Train 47 Comic Readings Dark

I started out taking photos of the routine world around me; a setting of frantic commuters and blanketed homeless.  Some of it was taken out of boredom but most of it was taken from a deep guilt that I’d be missing out on something that was fizzing away.  I habitually tried to document as honestly as possible what was in the subway carts and on the platforms and began to see the same emerging characteristics.  I grew disappointed in myself for having seen the same homeless person asleep at the same train station for two years without having recorded his life….this life, or that horrible thing that happens to people when they aren’t taken care of or looked after.  I’ve come to realize that I am one of those people that neglects, that commutes, and will do anything to continue with the routine.  I decided to record that smokey linearity outside in the streets and within my own home.  I find who I am alone is a very alienated deluded figure with a ghostly and passive presence.  There’s a lot of immaturity, longing and desperation in who I am.  I’ve tried to capture that as honestly as I can by creating a cliché narrative that demonizes the alienation and loneliness I think we all live with.

I’ve gotten into the habit of calling this populated world of remoteness Spirit-world because I find much of what we do every single day of our waking lives is live haunted by what we don’t see.  And, much of the time we are but spirits ourselves without direction or notice of the material world around us.

My project at the moment is to experiment technically with blurs and lighting to convey both a natural and feigned narrative of alienation, loneliness, self-loathing and fear within city life.



Hopeless Hells Kitchen Cold Face Girl On the Grid


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