Blake Kunin is a self-taught, black and white photographer based in New York City. Originally from San Francisco, Blake moved to New York City in 2015 where he began to photograph his friends and their nighttime antics. What started as taking snapshots of his friends led to starting an Instagram account and investing more time into photography. Now in the city, he’s put together a darkroom in his apartment and shoots on average thirty rolls a month — in the summer, sixty. He shoots with a Leica M6, walking on average 13 miles a day. Blake develops and prints all of his photos in his apartment bedroom he converted into a fully functioning dark room. Having projects with Libertine DUNEmagazine, Hamburger Eyes, Muddguts Gallery, and Japanese clothing brand Have A Good Time under his belt, he most recently embarked on an installation project in which he put up over 100 poster-sized printouts of one of his photos in phone booths throughout the city. Now, Blake says he’s done with the posters and is interested in fully immersing himself in photography.
Street photography is something that many are interested in, but it requires a special talent that few have. Kunin discusses why he loves documenting urban life so much and why it's important to him:
"Being in any city you see things, and it just kind of impacts who you grow up to be or things in your life. I just always had an urge to document things like that to remember. And then I feel like New York is not as crazy as San Francisco, [where I grew up]. It's a different kind of crazy — a fast-paced crazy. People are trying to do so many different things, so it's like a mental crazy — like the rat race. That's why I love midtown. There are so many things happening and sometimes it doesn't even look like anything's happening." — Blake Kunin
Kunin also prints all of his own work in a darkroom he constructed in his apartment. Although that may sound like a difficult process, Kunin has incorporated it as part of his editing process.
"By printing my own work, I've been able to put in place my own system that works for me, which is waiting a month to process the film and then contact printing all the film. So when it comes time to look at it, I'm so far removed from when I actually shot the frame and made the photograph that I [can] just look at it objectively. If it's not interesting to me, it's not worth printing. The printing process has helped me so much in what I'm doing and has allowed me to take a step back to really think about what I'm doing. I try not to think when I'm out shooting too much. I'm just trying to take it all in. As far as learning goes, I try to think about what I do next, and that's what the darkroom lets me do." — Blake Kunin