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photographer

From huck magazine:

The photographer who defined old-school cool

Street symphony

Posted
Text by Alex King
Photography © Jamal Shabazz

Jamel Shabazz has spent his life documenting the city that never sleeps. But while his shots of urban street style have become iconic, the bigger picture – a world of police and prostitutes, drifters and dancers – reveals something much deeper: a commitment to community.

It’s early morning in Rikers Island jail and a young corrections officer named Jamel Shabazz has just begun his first inspection. The residential wing is so hot that the stench of stale cigarettes and dead rodents hangs heavily.

There is a line of 30 units on both sides of the corridor, each one of them holding a juvenile inmate who may have trashed his cell, retreated to a corner or hung himself with a bed sheet.

“To make a physical count, you have to make sure a body is in each cell,” Jamel explains. And there is an abundance of bodies.

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It’s the mid-1980s and a crack epidemic is sweeping through New York City, generating a wave of violence that’s carrying thousands of young black men into the city’s prisons and morgues.

“It felt like being in a lifeboat watching a sinking ship and you can only help so many people,” says Jamel, thinking back to that time.

“But it didn’t stop me from going to work every single day looking for someone to connect with and provide direction to.”

Working in prison made Jamel’s mission clear to him: he became determined to steer young men away from ruining their lives, feeding a vicious cycle of regret. And it didn’t take long for him to realise how he’d do that.

Jamel_Shabazz_Little_Big_Man
Think of old-school hip hop and, chances are, you will conjure up one of Jamel Shabazz’s unforgettable portraits. Jamel came of age during the birth of rap in mid-70s New York. He remembers block parties in Coffey Park, Brooklyn, where a group of DJs and MCs would “hot-wire” the electricity supply of a lamppost to keep the party going long into the night.

His photobook Back in the Days immortalises the b-boys, boomboxes and big hair of 1980s New York City in one cornerstone document. But the purpose behind these images has often gone overlooked.

“I don’t get caught up on the fashion,” he says. “My photographs have always been about the personal connections I make in my attempt to communicate what’s going on in the streets.”

Rush-Hour-2
Jamel’s new book, Sights in the City, aims to redress that balance by showcasing his street photography in one place for the first time. It spans the duration of his career and illuminates the complex city that has defined his life.

Growing up in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, Jamel discovered photography through his father, a naval combat photographer who taught him to carry a loaded camera at all times.

Initially borrowing his mother’s cheap Kodak, the 15-year-old began directing groups of his friends into poses and developing a signature style.

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From Flushing Town Hall:

Taking it to the Streets: 1950s NY through the Lens of Flushing Photographer Frank Oscar Larson

June 25th, 2017 – August 6th, 2017

Taking it to the Streets: 1950s NY through the Lens of Flushing Photographer Frank Oscar Larson

tickets

Before cell phones documented nearly every aspect of daily life, street photographers captured the humble, the mundane, and the ordinary. Flushing resident Frank Larson documented New York in the 1950s. When we view Larson’s work 60 years later, we still see ourselves, even if New York has changed around us.

Opening Reception: SUN, JUNE 25, 1-3 PM Lecture: WED, JUNE 28, 6-8 PM

 

Photography Tour & Lesson: SUN, JULY 9 & 16, 2 PM (more info here)

 

Gallery Dates: SUN, JUNE 25 – SUN, AUG 6

 

Gallery Hours: SAT & SUN, 12-5 PM

 

 

$5 Suggested Donation/FREE for Members & Students 

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Photographer David Godlis Takes us Back to the 1970s Bowery

Posted on: June 22nd, 2016 at 5:15 am by

Bowery, 1977

It’s mid 1970s gritty New York City and you’re perusing through the Village Voice when a large ad for a bar you’ve never heard of catches your eye. Night after night you find yourself heading down to this seedy part of town which has drawn you in with its sweaty air, loud punk music, and self-destructive shady characters. Having become a regular, you’re having another one of your many rounds that evening, when your mind clears for a brief moment long enough to realize the need to document this soon-to-be-famed bar when all the lights have dimmed and the freaks come out. Nights turn into mornings and you gather photos of what you see as just your evening routine, your 20-something wild days of partying and listening to people scream on stage while regulars lean up against the bar smoking cigarettes. Chaos-filled nights go by, but the story certainly doesn’t end here. It is the beginning of a fascinating one that involves the Lower East Side’s well-loved CBGB and iconic photographer David Godlis.

No Wave Punks, Bowery 1978. l. to r.: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradly Field, and Liz Seidman

Last week, I met up with Godlis at a coffee shop on Sixth Avenue, and we spent hours talking about his days (and most importantly, nights) at CBGB. Documented in his soon to be released photography book entitled History is Made at Night (it sure is), we are able to get a glimpse into what the real, dirty, sweaty, nightlife was like at CBGB from 1976-1979. Although Godlis admits that it was just his routine, that he was just living his life the way we live ours, he does admit that himself (and others) realized that something special was happening around them. Having previous experience as a street photographer, he was in the perfect position to take it upon himself to start documenting the scene. Although CBGB was filled with now extremely well known and famous bands such as The Ramones, Television, Blondie, The Dead Boys, Patti Smith (I could go on.. and on…and on…) Godlis understood the importance of photographing the locals as well. It is because of this that many moments, which could easily have been forgotten, are preserved. After all, it’s not just the big names, but the CBGB regulars that made the scene what it was.

Television, CBGB, 1977

Merv Ferguson, CBGB bouncer, Bowery, 1977

Richard Hell, Bowery rainstorm, 1977

Godlis’ pictures capture CBGB’s truest form using light that was provided from the street. Taken only at night using his hand held Leica and TRI-X film, they give an accurate picture of what was really happening in the dimly lit surroundings. Taking a closer look at each image, it is impossible to turn the page without wondering what circumstances surrounded them. Who was Richard Hell waving to? What was Handsome Dick Manitoba doing standing outside groping his girlfriend? Why was Merv Ferguson on the street randomly holding two beers? The fascinating part of his pictures is that each tells a unique story. And if you’re anything like me, you want to know more.

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From i-D:
photography Emily Manning 12 November, 2015

the changing world of midtown manhattan

Harvey Stein has documented starting shooting in Manhattan on his lunch break in 1974, and hasn’t stopped since.

New York subcultures are always linked to micro-neighbourhoods. Think punks at St. Marks Place, beatniks in Greenwich Village, and now, cyber (or health, or maybe just regular) goths in Bushwick. But you’d be hard pressed to think of a tribe whose village is Midtown. Shaded by skyscrapers, the commercial hub is mostly shared by suits and slow tourists who meet each other only when shuffling through stuffed sidewalks. This anxious, anonymous herd has captivated photographer Harvey Stein for over four decades.

Next week, Stein will release Briefly Seen: New York Street Life, the final volume in his trilogy capturing the Empire City’s enclaves. The series’ first two volumes compiled Stein’s decade-spanning work in Coney Island and Harlem — portrait-style images that chronicle each area’s eccentric communities and vibrant energy. Briefly Seen, however, is a collection of truly candid, frenzied imagery shot smack dab in the middle of Midtown’s most densely packed mobs.

Stein has photographed the same haunts from 6th Ave to 60th Street with the same Leica from 1974 – 2014, but he doesn’t date his images. The only visual clues viewers have to a photograph’s historical moment are subtle: the thickness of glasses frames, the width of lapels, the model of mobile phones — or their absence. We caught up with Stein to find out more about capturing New York’s unique pulse and pace.

How did you begin shooting in Midtown?
I actually worked on Madison Ave and 57th St for about four years before I decided to chuck it all and become a photographer. I would go out every lunch hour in the summer, leave my suit coat and tie in the office, hide my camera under my arm, go walk around and photograph. When the hour was up, I’d sneak back to work — kind of like Clark Kent. It felt like I had a split personality, like I was living a dual life. I was loving what I wasn’t doing enough of and not liking what I was doing too much of! I left that ad agency long ago, but have photographed the area ever since.

How have you seen the neighbourhood change over time?
Times Square has changed amazingly. It used to be full of drug addicts and sex shops. During the day in the 70s or 80s, people would walk from the Port Authority to their office in Midtown, but they’d do so very quickly and with their heads down. You wouldn’t go in at night at all. Around the mid-90s, that started to change, but I really wasn’t that interested in photographing that transition. From 42nd to 57th Street between 3rd and 7th Avenue, things have stayed is pretty much the same. There are modern, ecologically efficient buildings now, but by and large, I haven’t seen a lot of change in Midtown.…

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from the NYPL: http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2015/07/09/beneath-streets-hidden-relics-new-york-citys-subway-system-matt-litwack

Author @ the Library:
Beneath the Streets: The Hidden Relics of New York City’s Subway System, with Matt Litwack, American Photographer and Graffiti Artist
Thursday, July 9, 2015, 6:30 p.m. at Mid-Manhattan Library (fully accessible to wheelchairs)
Only a handful of transit workers, daring explorers and graffiti writers have experienced the full scope of the New York subway system. Beneath the Streets reveals this world for the first time with fantastic photographs captured from throughout the tunnels and byways of the subway. Although it provides service to over 5 million riders every day, the subway is for most a sealed system. Very few of its patrons are aware of the extent of this vast underground infrastructure. The authors of Beneath the Streets first discovered this hidden world in the process of photographing graffiti found below ground in the subway system. Now their riveting documentary work opens up this subterranean maze, including 600 miles of active track as well as abandoned sections and disused stations, for all to experience.…

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From the Lo-Down: There’s a bit of news this morning regarding one of the Lower East Side’s more intriguing historic buildings. Back in August, Crain’s reported that the 1898 former Germania Bank Building had been listed on the website of Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty.  At the time, there was speculation that the building could be sold for as much as $50 million.  Today, in a story about RFR’s New York City buying spree, the New York Times reports that the company has acquired the building for itself:

Perhaps the most under-the-radar purchase was 190 Bowery, a building at Spring Street that was originally built in 1898 as a location for the Germania Bank. Developers have been trying for years to buy the six-story Renaissance Revival structure, which appears abandoned, with blocked-off doorways, boarded-up windows and graffiti covering nearly all of the lower facade. It is actually the 38,000-square-foot home of the photographer Jay Maisel, who bought the building in 1966 for just $102,000. Mr. Maisel, who did not return calls for comment, has, until now, refused any attempts to buy him out. The building is in terrible shape. There’s no heat, Jay lives in just a small area of the building, another winter is coming, and it was time,” said Mr. Rosen, who spent six months cajoling Mr. Maisel into selling the home. “When you own a property for that long, and you are not a real estate professional, it takes a lot of convincing.” Mr. Rosen, who has yet to close on the purchase and declined to reveal the price, said the building could be converted for retailing at the base with condominiums above, or possibly offices or even an art gallery.

190 Bowery has been a landmark-protected building since 2005.

 

The First Last Show held on Saturday, May 16th, 2015 : marked the first time the interior of the building was open to the public since 1966.…

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The Birth of Hip Hop in New York
Thursday, May 14 at 6:30 pm

Hear firsthand stories from three prominent figures of the early hip-hop movement, when DJs, MCs, and b-boys/b-girls waged epic battles in parks, school gyms, and neighborhood rec centers.

Joe Conzo, Photographer, Hip-Hop Revolution
MC Grandmaster Caz, DJ/MC, formerly of the Cold Crush Brothers
Moderated by Dr. Joseph Schloss, hip-hop scholar

Reserve Your Tickets
$12 and up
FREE for City Museum Members

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from Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation events: http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/events/upcoming.htm#danroot

Please note that space is often limited. Reservations are not confirmed until you receive a response from GVSHP regarding your reservation.

If space becomes an issue, all reservations will be honored up until the start of the program, at which point your seat may be given away to those on the wait list.


East Village: 1984 and 2014
A photo journey with Daniel Root

Thursday, May 7
6:30 – 8:00 P.M.
Free; reservations required
Sixth Street Community Center
638 East 6th Street, between Avenue B and Avenue C
[This venue is wheelchair accessible.]

Part of Lower East Side History Month


In 1984 Dan Root took some photographs for a book that a friend of a friend was going to write about the changing East Village.  For a couple of months he took pictures, when time and money allowed, of this changing neighborhood.  The book was never written (of course?) and the photographs were put away.

Last year Dan revisited those locations and photographed them again. Most were vastly different than they were 30 years ago. He embarked upon a project of framing the original photos and placing them at these sites. Residents and visitors were able to see how much the East Village has changed, and a Tumbler page brought international attention to this photographic documentation.

To register, please call (212) 475-9585 ext. 35 or email.…

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Thursday, May 7, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

Program Locations:

Fully accessible to wheelchairs

This illustrated lecture uncovers the forgotten history behind New York’s most incredible abandoned spaces, and witnesses its seldom seen and rapidly disappearing landscape. The visual tour explores of some of the author’s favorite destinations. Harrowing tales from his own adventures and the eye-opening histories of places like Dead Horse Bay, Creedmoor State Hospital, the Harlem Renaissance Ballroom, and the Gowanus Batcave, to name a few, are presented.

Use this quick list to reserve copies of our May 2015 Author @ the Library titles in the library catalog.

Find out what else is occurring at Mid-Manhattan here:May Calendar 2015.pdf

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