Jamel Shabazz, Young Love, Downtown, Brooklyn, NY 1983, copyright Jamel Shabazz, courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen
Photographs by Jamel Shabazz: 1980 – 1989
through 4 June 2022 // Galerie Bene Taschen, Cologne
Jamel Shabazz was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At the young age of fifteen, he picked up his first camera and started his photographic journey. Since the early 1980s, Shabazz has captured the energy of street life in New York, making iconic images of community, joy, and style. The upcoming solo show Photographs by Jamel Shabazz: 1980–1989 brings together mostly unseen works from this era. Shabazz was one of the first photographers to document the emerging youth culture, along with his own experiences, in neighborhoods across East Flatbush, Bedford-Stuyvesant, downtown Brooklyn, up to Times Square. Capturing a time long gone from our collective culture and a wide range of social conditions, Shabazz made the streets of New York and the city’s subway system the backdrop for many of his iconic photographs.
Shabazz has exhibited his homegrown approach to portraiture everywhere from the Rockefeller Plaza in New York and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Addis Foto Fest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His work is part of the permanent collections at the Whitney Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian’s
National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. His books Back in the Days and A Time Before Crack are considered classics for their articulation of a visual vernacular and continue to inspire young generations of photographers.