Closed” is an ongoing series of images documenting empty commercial spaces in New York City. I have been struck by the nearly epidemic amount of vacant storefront spaces in our city, many of which remain empty for long periods of time. Income and wealth inequality has had an overwhelming impact upon our nation, especially upon the makeup, diversity, and uniqueness of our city. Having lived in New York for many years, I have watched as number of singular and vibrant institutions, businesses, restaurants, and bars have closed in excess of normal economic fluctuations and turnover. Additionally, these vacant spaces mirror the technological changes that have influenced the way in which we engage with the public sphere. As more social and commercial activity occurs within the digital realm, there is a changed relationship to physical locations.

In photographing these spaces, I’ve been struck by both the repetition and variation of their appearance, while coming to see the subtleties in coloration and formalistic elements in what appear at first glance to be bare and utilitarian spaces. Often, residual elements suggest what once occupied or thrived here before either shuttering or moving on.
I find it appealing to use the act of photographing as a way of forcing attention to moments and elements in our world that are often overlooked, or at best given short shrift. Even vulgarity can allude to humor or pathos with the correct engagement via visual language. The formalistic nature of the utilitarian can likewise do the same when it is changed by virtue of its context, or through its environment acting upon it.

Dominic Quintana