For this task we were asked to choose the theme for are photo story assignment, as well as find a photographer we feel has succeeded in telling the story of the subject we have chosen.
For my assignment I have chosen the theme Raw.
After looking at various photographers and their work I came across a photographer named Steven Siegel and his Flickr album simply titled New York in the 80s.
“These photographs present a candid view of children at play, the elderly, the homeless, nuns and street preachers, and a variety of human subjects the likes of which could only be found in New York City. However, Siegel’s focus on the “pre-Disney-fication” of Times Square (with sleazy peep shows and porno theaters still intact) makes the set largely reminiscent of the work of another famous 70s film director– Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver (1976)”
These gritty images portray the raw truth of the city at this time and portray the reality of inter city living in the big apple.
Siegel points out the following in his artist’s statement :
“The New York of the 1980s differed in two fundamental ways from the New York of today.
First, 1980s-era New York was an edgier, riskier, dirtier, tenser, more dangerous and chaotic place. I think that fairly comes through in my images.
Second, 1980s-era New York had a sense of wide-openness and freedom that was lost following 9/11 … and likely never will be regained.”
As you can see Siegel definitely succeeds in telling the raw and gritty story of New of New York in this decade. His images portray a broken city, a limbo not only for its inhabitants but for the city it’s self.
This has given me not only a great insight into New York during the 80’s but also inspiration for my own photo story based in Leeds, as well as this I have come across another photographer I would have otherwise never known existed.