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A Visual Journalist Records the Many Facets of Life

Ben Arnon 98C is a New York City-based visual journalist whose focus is documentary reportage, street portraiture, and the impact of human existence on urban landscapes.

By Michelle Valigursky

Moments may be fleeting, but for visual journalist Ben Arnon 98C flashes of time become enduring portraits of life. Though Arnon spent the first part of his career in film, music, and technology with Jersey Films, Universal Pictures, Universal Music Group, Yahoo! Media, Blue State Digital, and Google, as he approached his 40th birthday last December he changed careers to pursue his passion.

“Through visual journalism, I’m returning to my roots,” he says. While a student at Emory, Arnon completed an honors thesis entitled 'Packaging Racial Identities: Market Segmentation in the U.S. Recorded Music Industry,' which examines the ways in which race has historically been utilized in the production, distribution, and marketing of recorded music. He earned his degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture, and later earned his MBA from UCLA. 

Now, as a Huffington Post writer, visual journalist, and documentarian, Arnon offers social commentary on a wide array of topics, covering politics, digital media, visual arts, culture, and society. 

Rio, Cuba, Willets Point, and Big Cats

The striking images of strangers soaking up the Brazilian sun, walking Havana’s cobblestone streets, standing amid the ruined cars and old tires of Willets Point, sharing jubilation at political rallies, or protesting at public assemblies are just a few of the artistic works that make up Arnon’s portfolio. Beyond human subjects, Arnon also captures the majesty of African big cats and savannah wildlife, bold urban architecture, and rodeo riders. 

Arnon’s perspective on the Rio Olympics has earned him a solo exhibition through December 31, 2016 at Chelsea Market in New York City. “My goal in photographing the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio was not only to make photographs highlighting epic athleticism, but also to capture the everyday life and the Olympic Spirit as it manifested itself outside of the sports venues,” he notes. “In Rio, life continued to move forward. Despite facing an economic and political crisis, everyday Cariocas (as Rio residents are called) kept living. They proudly shared their city with millions of people from around the world.”

Through November 30, Arnon’s work is also on display at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the main atrium. The show, presented by the Atlanta Photography Group, features work from his “Never Sweat, Wyoming” and “Afropunk” portfolios. 

Editor’s Note: Meet the artist in a video interview at Chelsea Market during the installation of the Rio exhibit. Arnon is a member of the Emory Alumni Creative, an affinity group for the creative community committed to supporting alumni in all creative disciplines. For more information about the Emory Alumni Creative and other industry groups, please visit here.