Meet the youth culture aficionado bringing tropical warmth to Brooklyn

Moving to Brooklyn is something of a mandate for young creatives hoping to make a living off of their art. Photographer Josh Aronson has followed this trajectory—and quite successfully at that. (His past clientele includes editorial and fashion giants like The New York Times, Dior, and Teen Vogue). The heart of Aronson’s work, however, resides in Miami. He favors natural lighting and a hyper-saturated, tropical palette, and he casts his subjects into sharp relief through patterned shadows. While the vibrancy of Aronson’s portraits evokes the height of the afternoon, their emotional tenor is closer to the softness of dusk.

Tenderness is particularly profuse in Aronson’s portraits of rapper and fellow Florida native Dominic Fike. The photographer sought to complicate reductive perceptions of Fike, stripping away geographic context and highlighting his emotional range. The resulting images celebrate the rapper’s capacity to cry and laugh and brood and yearn. By creating a “juxtaposition between this beautiful boy and a run of the mill, harsh Florida rapper,” Aronson demonstrates his dedication to capturing the individual humanity of other young artists, discarding manufactured ‘coolness.’ More acutely, Aronson’s photography conveys what 20 somethings already know and what older generations are starting to catch wind of: nowadays, sensitivity is cool.

Earlier this year, Document spent a day with Aronson in his studio and around Brooklyn. Here, the photographer shares his thoughts about creation and identity.