David Blackburn

“Manhattan is a walker’s city”

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The Paris Review has surpassed itself yet again, with a brief memoir by photographer Paul McDonough. His photos and writing depict metropolitan life as it is predominantly lived: in a constant motion of coming and going.

For McDonough, there is no such thing as still life. The actors in a city’s exterior space may or may not be aware that they are the centre of attention; but they are never sedentary. This realisation affected his art:

"What turned me away from painting was a realization that the streets and parks of Boston provided me with subject matter that I could not conjure up in my studio. At that point, a blank canvas drew nothing but a blank stare. So, with a newly purchased 35mm Leica loaded with tri-x film, I began my forays into downtown Boston to photograph."

Here’s what he found there.