Jamel Shabazz
December 31, 2011 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Jamel Shabazz has been documenting the ‘Urban Life’, most famously, 80s Brooklyn, for over 30 years. His work has been featured in the New York Times and a documentary film as well as in a recently expanded and re-relased book. An interview and a few snaps from the book.
posted by latkes (8 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorites.
posted by latkes at 1:09 PM on December 31, 2011

Take a look at the picture on this page. See those painted jackets? Those cartoon guys painted on those jackets were, at least where I lived, called "mugs". Anyone with any drawing talent at all drew those guys with adidas and kangols on any available surface. Seems like it was a fad maybe 85-87.

I have been searching for examples on the web for years now.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:40 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow. Thanks for posting. I didn't realize that this is the same photographer who took the picture on the cover of The Roots new release, "Undun."

I grew up in the barrio on the other coast. These pictures really speak to me.
posted by dorkydancer at 3:29 PM on December 31, 2011

Pretty cool, the the documentary was directed by Charlie Ahearn, the guy who directed Wild Style
posted by Ad hominem at 3:40 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hydrant water is fucking delicious. If I knew where there was an open hydrant I would go drink some right now.

Great post, thanks.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:17 PM on December 31, 2011

My love for this guy and his work are profound. That he's never gotten a McArthur Grant is incomprehensible. That he's still so relatively unknown is... The value of his work, artistically, historically, sociologically - is so wildly underrated.
*big edit*
I could sputter on about this for hours, but he's one of those people who quietly make their work and then twenty years later they have a monument the size and scope and beauty of which is a little too much to comprehend.

I had a chance to meet him when his first book came out and you couldn't ask to meet a nicer guy. I think it's evident in his photographs, a respect and love for his subjects. Artists like this should never have to worry about taxes or health care - society should treasure them, respect them, bolster them...
posted by From Bklyn at 4:57 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

The difference between this and John Conn's subway pics are pretty stark. Where in Conn we see horror, decay and dehumanization in Shabazz we see vibrancy, life and happiness.

Check out the cop pictures. In Conn we see a cop standing imperiously in front of a locked gate, with a fucking German Shepard, which brings to mind a time no so long ago a time when police siced dogs on people. In Shabazz we see a smiling face, wearing what were at the time ridiculously fashionable glasses.

Whether it is simply the difference of a few years, New York changed a lot from 80-90, or a difference in how they saw New York I don't Know. But I prefer Shabazz's version.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:22 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Drunkfilter, I just talked to someone on 123 and broadway who I thought was wearing vintage Gazelles, turns out she was wearing vintage Sergio Valente Gazelle knockoffs. I don't know what is cooler, vintage or vintage of complete fakes.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:19 AM on January 1, 2012

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