Roy Arenella

Roy Arenella
Photo by Martine

“This is the best kind of mailart:
deep, serious, rich and fun!”

—Geof Huth

I don’t think I’d continue to take photographs if I couldn’t format them as postcards, if I couldn’t write on the verso of the image &, especially, if I could not put them into the mail, using a variety of old postage stamps. The photograph has become for me a two-sided affair. Otherwise, my pictures would be living half a life. To fulfill their usefulness, pictures need an occasion & a recipient.

When asked for a statement about my photography, I often prefer to offer a quote rather than my own words. (After all, photographs themselves can be seen as tiny “quotes” from the text of the larger, real world.) These words are from the photographer, curator & archivist Paul Vanderbilt (the added emphasis is mine): “I submit that the end-product of intuitive, personal photography is not a picture at all, but the offpring of pictures as enriched language.”





Roy Arenella is a self-taught photographer. He holds a BA in comparative literature from Columbia College, and for over 30 years he was a social service worker in various neighborhoods of New York City. His photos have appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, Popular Photography, The Sun, The Village Voice, City Talk (a book of poems by children), and in small press literary magazines that offered him the opportunity to develop his interest in visual writing—combining word and image and working in the space between them. His work has been exhibited in galleries in the U.S. and Europe, including the Whitney Museum and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. The photo/card continues to be Roy’s preferred format for expression and communication. He is married, has one son, and lives in New York.