was born across the river in New Jersey, and is now a New York City based photographer. While many refer to her as a street photographer and documentary filmmaker, Cheryl Dunn also does commercial work and assignments. She has been attending music festivals for more than 20 years. She goes to two or three a year festivals a year and makes it a point to meld into the crowd, creating a more vibrant and real documentary sense to her work. While she does get images of the performers, her main gist is to record the crowds of screaming fans.
Recording “Wild and Free”
She has the ability to immerse herself in the crowds, and still wield her cameras as if they were part of her body. She has produced some of the most realistic, youth driven hysteria of musical happenings that have occurred. Still prevalent at today’s festivals and concerts,… even decades after the original Woodstock. And they reveal the free spirited, sheer enthusiasm of youth. A searing reminder that we were all young once,…and probably that crazy. But while her subjects may not all be young, they are at least young at heart.
Of her books, “Festivals are Good” is probably my favorite. Curious title, as the festivals I’ve attended have their good and their bad. Anytime you get 50,000 or 100,00 people together, chaos is bound to ensue and craziness is bound to occur. It could never be all candy and unicorns. But sometimes shocking displays of “wild and free” youth descending into the basest of paganistic rituals are just what you need to make the camera happy.
Not All Musical
But she hasn’t always done music festivals, or does now. With her trusty Leicas in tow, she has documented, and still documents, the streets of NYC and elsewhere. She’s photographed boxing matches to biker gatherings. And even been called upon to give her unique take on fashion. And if anybody thinks street photography in NYC is easy,…think again. Being aggressive and standing your ground is more than a mantra. Whereas you might get a hand shielding a face from the camera in Pittsburgh, it’s not uncommon to get a “Get the f**k out of my face” in NY. They don’t call it the ‘Big Apple’ for nothing.
She usually will shoot film with her Leica M6 or Leica M7. But she’s not averse to using her Leica M9 when the job calls for it. Her books are especially good, and her advertising work is all Cheryl Dunn. Check out her books, and definitely visit her site link below. The beauty of her work is the consistency she exhibits in both art and commerce.