Monthly Archives: June 2011

via PowerHouse Books

Yesterday I attended the premiere of Jamel Shabazz: Street Photographer at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcinemaFest. Charlie Ahearn of Wild Style directed the documentary while shadowing the photographer for 7 years. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Shabazz’s for some time and own Back in the Days and Seconds of My Life. His books contain the most stunning images of everyday (primarily) New Yorkers from the 1980s through the 2000s, with an emphasis of the black and brown people of Brooklyn and Harlem. Whether someone was wearing a mesh tank and running shorts or freshly pressed, straight-legged Lee’s with suede Pumas and a Kangol, each subject maintains a stance with the same polished confidence of a high-paid model.

Like the contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley, Shabazz captures people in a manner that suggests a grander scale than the world they live in. While the sitters may not come from the most affluent of backgrounds, their carriage and the way they wear their garments punctuates the dignity  and respect the photographer stresses that he tries to convey in his work.

I’m not sure when there will be another opportunity to view the film, but there will be a launch party on July 12th at the powerHOUSE Arena (the event space of publisher powerHOUSE Books) celebrating Shabazz’s latest book, Back in the Days: Remix.