Over the past 40 years, Jamel Shabazz has created a singular archive of New York life on the move, finding intimate moments of beauty and humanity in the most unlikely of places: the public transit system.
The subway system in New York City snakes through each of its five boroughs, connecting residents via hundreds of miles of electrified tracks. Just as passengers have been accustomed to the idiosyncrasies of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) — including its frequent delays and signal malfunctions — so too have they become familiar with art and performing arts within the trains and stations. In the 1980s, in particular, as street art exploded around the city, the steel train cars became the canvases for graffiti artists.
De media toonden de ellende en het geweld, fotograaf Jamel Shabazz ontmoette veel leuke, zelfbewuste zwarte New Yorkers in de metro.
Nach der Ausstellung City Metro von Jamel Shabazz in der Kölner Galerie Bene Taschen ist jetzt das gleichnamige Buch erschienen. Die 51 Arbeiten, welche seit Anfang der 1980er Jahre entstanden sind, zeigen einen anderen „Big Apple“, jenseits der prestigeträchtigen Avenues und des schillernden Broadways.
amel Shabazz has long been recognized as one of the leading figures on the New York street photography scene. Born and raised in Red Hook, Brooklyn, he has spent the past four decades documenting the rapidly changing social fabric of New York City. Active humanism drives Shabazz in his imagemaking, as he consistently seeks to show and preserve the city’s many populations, regardless of their age, class, race or occupation, with the New York City transit system serving as the natural backdrop to many of his most iconic images.
Finally, the show Streetlife featuring works of Jamel Shabazz its about to open in the Museum aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht!
Remember the pre-COVID days, when travelling on public transport seemed like an unremarkable act? And the enforced physical proximity of other people on a commute was nothing more than an inconvenience? Now, more than ever, there’s something especially poignant and joyful about Jamel Shabazz’s newly published collection of archival photographs, depicting New Yorkers happily occupying the shared space of the city subway.
text by Thomas Linden
Als Teenager begann der Fotograf Jamel Shabazz, mit der Kamera durch Brooklyn zu streifen. Seine Bilder spielen in der U-Bahn und feiern den Style der Straße
Following an exhibition at the institution’s Cologne home, Galerie Bene Taschen publishes City Metro, a catalogue of Jamel Shabazz’s series of photographs taken in 1980s New York, mostly in the city’s subways.