Bob Krasner has posted his photography on Instagram every day for the past 6 years. Without fail, a new sharp white-edged image will appear on his profile every day, often with sharp emotions or aspects of the piece captioned.
The photos mainly feature subtle architecture, often zoomed in, with contrasting highlights either the subject or hidden to balance the image. As one slides their finger to scroll down their feed, the images shift in setting, but an intensity of contrast and aesthetics remain.
A photographer by nature, Krasner has been taking pictures since his high school years. However, most of his photography until semi-recently was commercial work—heavy metal concerts, corporate, headshots, weddings, galas, bar mitzvahs and website branding. For 11 years he has also been a contributor to The Villager.
In contrast to his corporate work, the work shown in his latest exhibition “The Shape of the City” has an emphasis on minimalist abstraction. Many photos have buildings and shadows silhouetted against contrasting colors and scenes. Light and bright shapes also play a major role in the displayed exhibition photos, giving them a pleasing distinction to the eye.
“Part of what they’re about is this part of what they’re about is this kind of combination of man-made structures and the sun or the cloud or the sky that is nature,” Krasner said. “For me it’s kind of an interaction of man and nature. A lot of the pictures have very strong right angles in them, which are very unnatural things.”
Krasner pointed to multiple of his images and pointed out the play on the intentional disparity in the elements of the photographs. He sometimes spends as much as two hours adjusting his images, exploring different compositions, colors and shades in a single piece. Krasner is deliberate with each photograph, bringing meaning and vibrancy to a seemingly simple part.
“You have this little cloud and it looks like the building is much more powerful and stronger than the cloud, but what comes out of clouds can actually destroy buildings,” Krasner said. “It’s a bit of an illusion there, I like it. I love the play between the very strong buildings and the very fluffy clouds. It’s the contrast that sometimes gives the images meaning.”
The photos in the exhibition go back as far as 5 years ago, but some of them were taken during the pandemic when Krasner had more time to explore various styles of photography. He brings his camera when he leaves the house and galavants around the city, even in something as minor as a date.
“It’s partly about the joy of seeing images and translating them into my vision through the camera,” Krasner said. “More often than not, the images to me are not just pretty pictures, they have some meaning to me, even like the really minimal ones.”
Although many of Krasner’s images remain on the minimal side, he has recently started playing with the concept of allowing more into the frame. His adherence to consistent posts on Instagram has also influenced his more recent work, noting that he preferred a horizontal-vertical alternation rather than random daily photo orientation switches. This problem caused him to take more horizontal pictures, something he didn’t do as much before.
“I want people to take away from the images what they feel about them rather than what I feel about them,” Krasner said. “I’m always very happy when people get an image that they react to emotionally.”
The Cry! Archive team handpicked the compilation of his images on display. He said that it was an interesting experience to allow others to choose his images, especially since it had been a while since his last show.
“I think they did a great job selecting the images,” Krasner said. “It’s interesting because they chose a real variety. I love this gallery and I love the people who run it.”
“The Shape of the City” will be open for public viewing in the Howl! Archive until October 30, with 54 unique photos adorning the walls. The art space is at 250 Bowery and is open every day from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with the exception of Mondays and Tuesdays.