Feature Shoot: Joseph Rodriguez: Spanish Harlem: El Barrio in the ‘80s

In the wake of World War I, Puerto Rican and Latin American immigrants first began arriving in New York, settling in a little corner of upper Manhattan around 110th Street and Lexington Avenue, which is now known as Spanish Harlem. With a foothold firmly established in El Barrio, the neighborhood blossomed after World War II, when a new wave of immigration transformed the face of the city.

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Dazed and Confused: Vibrant photos tells true stories of life as a Latinx in 80s Harlem. Tired of seeing his Latinx community misrepresented, Joseph Rodriguez pulled out his camera and took control of its story.

It took five years for Brooklyn-Born photographer Joseph Rodriguez to complete the Spansih Harlem series, his most expansive, thorough, and personal body  of work to date. A Puerto Rican New Yorker born in the 50s, Rodriguez grew up strongly Aware of the stereotypical narratives attributed to his community across the Mainstream media – a reductive, simplistic discourse he always felt the urge to defy. „As a Latino, I wanted to own my Story,“ he tells us. „That’s why it took me so Long to make this work – I wanted to do the opposite of what the media did, and go in deeper, give a broader, wider lens view of what it truly meant to be a part of this community of East Harlem, ‚El Barrio‘.“

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Playboy Deutschland: Porträts aus dem Ghetto: Foto-Ausstellung „Spanish Harlem“

Joseph Rodriguez fotografierte in den 80er Jahren die Straßen und Häuser des New Yorker Viertels „Spanish Harlem“. Im Mittelpunkt stehen dabei nicht Kriminalität und Gewalt, sondern die Anwohner selbst. Sie gewährtem dem Fotografen Zugang zu ihrem Gemeinschaftsleben – so entstanden intime Fotografien, die vom 20. April bis zum 30. Juni in der Kölner Galerie Bene Taschen ausgestellt werden.

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