Raw photographs from the New York City subway, 1980s
Jamel Shabazz, a renowned photographer born in Brooklyn, has the spirit of New York running through his veins.
Shabazz, now synonymous with urban life in New York, has the innate ability to project the spirit of the city through his camera lens and into his work. For the first time, the photographer has collected all of his images on the one system that links all New Yorkers together, the subway. In an exhibition entitled City Metro, Shabazz pulls together 30 years of work to one meeting point.
“As New York’s lifeline, the transit system connects all of the city’s districts and residents, and nowhere else is there such an immediate meeting of the different nationalities and cultures of the melting pot,” Galerie Bene Taschen, the German gallery putting on the show details when explaining the work of Shabazz. “An aspect which has drawn the [photographer] to the stations and trains of the subway time and again to create key works.”
They continue: “Young people pose before his lens, their gestures underpinning their self-assured presentation,” the Galerie continues. “Shabazz’s documentation of 1980s youth are timeless, captivating us with their energy and spontaneity.”
When asked about his success in an interview ID, he said: “The best advice I could give someone who is not familiar with the NYC metro system is to be respectful, courteous and to mind your own business. In New York we call it, ‘Stay in your lane’.”
With an extraordinary sense of capturing the moment—whether in black and white film and silver gelatin print or in colour with the use of a chromogenic print—Shabazz has a priceless skill of encouraging strangers to open up in front his camera and he does it with the utmost sincerity.