Dan Ziskie is best known for playing Vice President Jim Matthews on House of Cards and the politically connected banker in Treme's post-Katrina New Orleans.
He is also an accomplished photographer. His first book, Cloud Chamber, features photographs taken on the streets of Manhattan between 2013 and 2016.
His work focuses on what is revealed socially and culturally in urban public spaces. Ziskie writes that within New York's pulsating street life people's actions "reflect and bounce off each other ... but you sometimes find a sense of privacy. As if you were for a moment alone. And that's often where I look to take my picture, inside the cloud chamber of New York City."
His keen eye, informed by his work as an actor, zeroes in on moments of theatre played out on the streets. People appear lost in their personal dramas as they make their way through the congested streets seemingly oblivious to the ubiquitous signs and billboards beckoning them.
This is a post 9/11 New York where a sense of constant emergency seems to exist. People are on the move, or on pause for a New York minute, amid the jackhammers, screaming sirens, parades and honking horns. Ziskie leaves it to the viewer to imagine the scenes being played out. A woman who has fallen on the pavement is helped up by two people. Are they friends or strangers? Did the woman faint or trip on the curb?
A man clasps his head with his hands as if in mental anguish, or is he suffering from a toothache? A woman wearing sunglasses and a long green dress, and holding a bright red bag, walks out of the shadows into what looks like an actor's spotlight on an empty stage. A woman stands alone in the middle of the street hugging her herself with her head inclined upwards. Is this a moment of prayer or reflection, or is she just enjoying the sun on her face before going back to the office?