I have a few times come across this photo series during the past years and every time it has left strong memory marks and embraced the interest for the ever beating Big Apple.
Chile-born Camilo José Vergara is a photographer who moved to New York in the late ’60s. While there studying sociology, he started to document through photography the grainy neighborhoods of the South Bronx and Lower East Side in his spare time and then becoming a very active street photographer. Now introduced photographs from his series “Old New York” showcases his interest in the people who live in these areas during a strong period of economic stagnation, poverty, and urban decay.
These were just a prelude to his more direct and stronger later work – In the late 1970s, he developed a method of photographing neighborhoods in a more straightforward, dispassionate way, and then rephotographing them over the years to track and witness the transformations. He then introduced this methodology to studies of other economically depressed and downfallen cities across the country.
He received MacArthur “Genius Grant” and the National Humanities Medal for his life’s work.