Decades of raw, real life photos taken on the streets of New York City uncovered

Homeless teenagers, West 42nd Street, 1985

New York City, the land of opportunity, at least it was for budding photographer Carrie Boretz.

So often a cultural hub for people worldwide, Boretz graduated from Washington University in St. Louis back in 1975 and had eyes for only one place, the Big Apple. Landing in the city a week after walking out of university, Boretz secured an internship at the Village Voice and from there honed in her skill of capturing the true spirit of real-life New Yorkers. Fast forward a decade and she worked for The New York Times Magazine, New York, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune, and Life as her pictures became more recognised for their raw ability to express the emotion of the subjects.

“I have always been more interested in the subtle and familiar moments of everyday life, not the big news stories,” Boretz previously said in an interview with Lens Scratch. “They are telling in different ways and just as powerful. Nothing was scripted but played out right before me. As Patti Smith once said ‘You need no rational, no schooling. It’s love at first sight. You see something and you have to capture it. Instinctive, bang, you feel one with it’. I don’t really have a philosophy about shooting other than I trust my instinct.”

New York, as brash and unforgiving as it has always been, became Boretz’s playground of inspiration. For years her negatives had remained hidden away in her apartment before the passing of her father resulted in her taking a trip down memory lane. “I just wanted to be on the street and shoot normal people,” she said in an interview with The New York Times. “I saw things clearly. Things just bombarded my vision. It was so easy, it often didn’t seem like work, to be honest.

“I never shoot with my eye,” Boretz said. “It’s my heart that leads. I feel too much, that heart on the sleeve thing. I tried to be an intellectual person, but that didn’t fly.”

Her heart led her to the inspiration of crowdfunding the money to publish her images, a task that hit its target in no time at all. The result? A book titled ‘STREET’ New York City, The 70’s, 80’s, 90’s.

Here, are select images Lens Scratch which display some of her extraordinary work:

(All images in this article have been sourced via  Lens Scratch)

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