Capturing the Lives of Strangers

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From a Strand of Recommendations, a Photographer Captures the Different Lives of Friends and Strangers in New York City

Artist Didi Gutman of Grammy award-nominated dance band, Brazilian Girls, poses for An Afternoon With...

An Afternoon With... is a collection of one-of-a-kind beads connected by a verbal string, creative minds recognizing other creative minds.

Two years ago, photographer Michael Mundy arrived at the door of someone he had never met and preceded to shoot an interior he had never seen. Two years later, he has knocked on over hundred doors and spent as many afternoons getting to know, via his camera and conversation, a cross-section of creative New Yorkers he might never have encountered, were it not for an initial recommendation that led to another and another and another.

On April 25, 2012, Mundy will mark the second year of his photo project, An Afternoon With..., by celebrating, and celebrating with, the individuals he has profiled at the private club Parlor New York in Soho. For the first time, at a party dedicated to community as much as creativity, everyone who has been involved with this evolving and inspiring project will get to meet everyone else. An Afternoon With... may live in the digital world but Mundy is keen to connect, in an old-school, face-to-face, celebratory coming together, the group of people who have made his 21st century portraiture site such a curiosity and success.

An Afternoon With... began with a simple premise: that everyone tells a story via the things they live with. Every person or every room may be or not be stylish, as defined by the editorati, but every place expresses a style, revealed as much by the things people eschew as by the things they treasure. In a generous and appreciative manner, every person Mundy visited was recommended by someone and had someone to recommend. An Afternoon With... is a collection of one-of-a-kind beads connected by a verbal string, creative minds recognizing other creative minds.

In the process of spending afternoons with a diverse range of New Yorkers (artists, a porn star, designers, writers, a dog walker, a waitress, musicians, a cowboy, a poet) Mundy discovered a form of portraiture more personal and telling than either a headshot or a traditional interiors shoot. Unaided by an assistant, styling, retouching, artificial lighting, or words, other than those provided by the subjects themselves via video, Mundy has produced deeply descriptive and revealing stories of imaginative, thoughtful, open New Yorkers.

The narrative portraits of An Afternoon With... have struck a loud chord in the online world. Tens of thousands visit the site monthly, prompted by recognition by dozens of bloggers, shelter publications as well as Wordpress, which recently lauded An Afternoon With... as one of its most inspiring blogs to follow in 2012. Going forward Mundy plans to broaden his scope with a bi-annual newsprint publication and an expansive video presence, bringing the stories of his subjects to an even greater audience.

Michael Mundy was born and raised in New York and is considered one of the great interior and portrait photographers of our times. His work taps into the soul of everything from architectural spaces to noted personalities, as well as fashion. His simple, tranquil and sophisticated images of interiors are revealing and resonate with the character of their inhabitants. They often create a sense of ambiguity while also exposing personality in a glance, an angle or a revealing moment. Michael Mundy has worked for some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including BCBG, Baker, Calvin Klein, Frette, Grey Goose, Halston, Herve Leger, Kohler, Morgans Hotel Group and Andre Balaz Hotels, as well as Architectural Digest, House & Garden, Travel and Leisure, Town & Country, Vogue, W, Wallpaper and more.

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Nhi Nguyen
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