The Dreamers book introduction


The Dreamers” is an exploration of life in New York, in the subways and the alleys, a trip among its dwellers and those who made a home of its streets.

Steve Panariti crossed Bronx, Harlem, Manhattan and Brooklyn all the way to Coney Island, giving back an instinctive tale of a population made up of sleepy homeless, veterans begging for a dollar and too-fast-aged women.

New York models itself in an always different and sometimes inconsistent form of revelation. For decades it has been inspiration for street photography great authors like Mary Ellen Mark, Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Gilden, who surprised pedestrians with his flashes, or Jeff Mermelstein, who caught the extravagances of a mix of races, gestures and crafts.
New York is effectively a great playground for photography: no one much cares what you’re doing. Pieces of a true and grotesque urban puzzle are moving undisturbed in the streets walked by Panariti. Characters who are real, like muscular ladies and asleep keepers, or reproduced on abandoned magazines, on missing person leaflets or on the graffiti where a girl seems to be lost in her dreams. Here we find parading iconic city elements like asphalt, carton, garbage, signals, food trucks and ghetto blasters. Tech devices, instead, are absent: the “dreamers” don’t own a laptop and don’t type on a smartphone. Yet they are the subjects of a new photography, the mobile one, which mainly concentrates on content and relationship with context, because the smartphone allows to get closer in an almost invisible way.
This work uses the contemporary storytelling language shared on social networks. The hashtag #streetphotography counts ten million posts on Instagram, a fascinating platform for creatives, professionals and amateurs alike which offers a new interaction with a wider audience.

Filters, contrasts, paper waste, random and intentionally casual framing connotate “The Dreamers”, which records with direct and immediate connection those moods, gestures and social phenomena that constitute the street essence.