Former mayor Rudy Giuliani tried to scrub New York City clean in the 1990s, but nostalgia for notoriously gritty New York in the ‘70s and ‘80s remains at an all-time high. An exhibition at Lot 180 remembers a city that was, with a collection of photos, vinyl cover art, posters, and more. Cultural icons like Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, and Jean-Michel Basquiat (and his graffiti tag SAMO) populate the collection. This isn’t the “Disneyfied” New York City of today. Street photography from artists such as Robert Herman and Fernando Natalici depict the city’s graffiti-filled trains, the XXX theaters of Times Square, and other relics of a bygone era. The exhibition, which you can preview in our photo gallery, runs through September 1. … Read More
It’s hard to imagine a perpetually populated New York City spot like Penn Station free of people, but photographer Duane Michals captured the quiet side of the iconic locale, and others, in his Empty New York series. Started in the 1960s, Michals explored the streets of New York during the early morning hours, capturing shops, parks, and subway cars. His striking work was the subject of a recent exhibition at DC Moore Gallery that closed in May.
“It was a fortuitous event for me [to discover the work of Eugene Atget in a book]. I became so enchanted by the intimacy of the rooms and streets and people he photographed that I found myself looking at twentieth–century New York in the early morning through his nineteenth-century eyes,” the artist stated. “Everywhere seemed a stage set. I would awaken early on Sunday mornings and wander through New York with my camera, peering into shop windows and down cul-de-sacs with a bemused Atget looking over my shoulder.”
Michals reinterpretation of the metropolis is theatrical and sometimes eerie, bringing an unexpected philosophical resonance to everyday spaces like a laundromat. See more of these rare gelatin silver prints in our gallery.
Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art will exhibit Michals’ other work from November 1 through February 16. Visit DC Moore Gallery through the end of the month to see the paintings of Robert De Niro, Sr., father of actor Robert De Niro. … Read More
Armed with a GoPro camera and an eagle eye for style, fashion PR exec Christina Belcher (who we learned about on Design Taxi) takes to the New York City streets looking for the most fashionable men, who also happen to be silver foxes. Her Instagram account @fashionablegrandpas is a colorful catalogue of elderly style mavens who have even inspired Belcher’s own fashion sense. Swathed in cashmere, cutting-edge cardigans, and luxe shoes we wouldn’t dare dream of slipping our inexperienced feet into, these glamorous granddads are total trendsetters — but their classic choices also prove that some things never go out of style. … Read More
The Tube started shuttling Londoners through its vast network of tunnels more than 150 years ago. Photographer Bob Mazzer has spent 40 of those years capturing the London Underground commuters, shining a spotlight on the evolving subcultures that have popped up over time. A former job as a movie theater projectionist found him traveling on the Tube late at night, surrounded by a cast of characters. Mazzer’s work was shown in a Greater London Council exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall in the 1980s, but he’s been sharing his photos on Facebook recently. See more of Mazzer’s funny, touching, and surreal portraits of strangers on the London metro, which we spotted on Kottke, in our gallery. … Read More
You can’t beat a good diner and a strong cup of coffee. In the city that never sleeps, they’re essential. New York City diners have become part of the pop culture fabric, featured in movies and television alike, and photographer Gregoire Alessandrini has captured several great Big Apple diners during the 1990s. “I’ll always miss the Moondance, which to me was a real part of SoHo and the West Broadway area of the ‘90s,” the artist related to us in an email. On Friends, the Moondance doubled as Monica Geller’s (Courteney Cox) place of work — the exterior shots, anyway. Alessandrini is also a fan of the abandoned Lost Diner, since the name reminds him of David Lynch’s Lost Highway (and who can forget the diner scene in the director’s Mulholland Drive?). A number of the diners featured here have since been demolished or left to decay, but Alessandrini’s images capture them in all their greasy spoon glory. To purchase prints of these beauties, which we first spotted on Kottke, visit the artist’s website. … Read More
Life in New York City doesn’t slow down for anyone, but street photographer Matt Weber has a keen eye for those quiet, intimate moments shared between two people — the kind that feel like all time has stopped. Sometimes it’s a kiss before the subway doors close, and sometimes it’s a passionate embrace against the steel security gate of an abandoned shop. “Occasionally, it’s over the top. Young people tend to do that — spend half an hour groping,” the former taxi driver told Slate. “Maybe it’s not exhibitionism so much as being overwhelmed. The first time you fall in love as a teenager is a really powerful thing.” Weber captures lovers on the streets of New York — spontaneous moments of bliss in a city that has its share of difficulties. “There are so many miserable people. You see a lot of people not looking very content. With happy people, I try not to worry why they’re happy,” he explained. Weber’s life and work is featured in the documentary More Than the Rainbow, and you can purchase prints of his photos over here, but the artist was kind enough to share his images with us — which are featured in our gallery. … Read More
Although NYC-based English photographer Shane Gray’s photographs, which we recently spotted over at Booooooom, are shot in broad daylight and without special effects, there’s something magical, often almost surreal about the scenes he captures. “Through the lens,” Gray writes, “I continue to witness our changing world amidst the enlightening, bland and random across the gamut of our existence with a continuing fascination fo the human predicament and different environs.” Sure, but he also has a knack for color and, it seems, a habit of being in the right place at the right time, which always helps. Click through to see a few of our favorite snaps from Gray’s New York photographs, and then be sure to head over to his website to check out a vast wealth of his work. … Read More
A street photographer since the mid-’60s, Chip Simone studied at the Rhode Island School of Design with Modernist-master Harry Callahan and shot classic black-and-white pictures for years before jumping on the digital train in 2000. Since turning to faster cameras and color imagery, Simone has built an impressive body of work, which he makes by walking and cycling through cities up and down the East Coast. Collected by major museums, as well as Elton John, who’s a connoisseur of the medium, Simone has an eye for the uncanny and a keen awareness of how photography can magically parallel painting and sculpture. With a decade of work currently on view at New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery and a recent monograph and museum survey under his belt, Simone is definitely one to watch — especially after so many years of pounding the streets. Click through a selection of our favorite images. … Read More
We’re big fans of street photography around here, which is why we’re excited that The National Gallery will be presenting a related exhibition featuring images from some of the genre’s biggest names. Walker Evans, Harry Callahan, and Bruce Davidson are just a few of the artists who will be featured in I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938–2010. The National Gallery was kind enough to preview some of the work featured in the show with us, which you’ll be able to see in person when the exhibit opens on April 22 (running through August 5). Past the break, we’ve shared several of Evans’ subway photos, which prove that the dour expression commuters often wear has been around since the 1930s. Callahan’s extreme close-ups of people out and about capture a curious sense of urban malaise, and Davidson’s cast of characters is highly entertaining. Click through for a closer look, and visit the National Gallery’s website for more information. … Read More
Ansel Adams was famous for his signature series of landscapes, spindling trees, ominous clouds and cliffs, but he also had bills to pay. He had clients. He had assignments. In the ’40s, Fortune Magazine sent him to document Los Angeles’ aviation industry. He shot workers at a steel plant, but also dawdled around LA a bit, snapping oil rigs and boulevards and friends at bowling tournaments, friends at bars, friends staring off at the Santa Monica coastline. He ultimately decided that “none of the pictures were very good,” and donated the photos to the Los Angeles Public Library. Are they? Ansel Adams Los Angeles exhibit goes on view at LA’s drkrm Gallery on February 18th, but you can take a look at the loot right here, in our gallery, and judge for yourself. From dusty Burbank to bustling Downtown LA… let’s go! … Read More