Urban images: Photographer captures 40 years of NYC

New kids on the block: One of photographer Jamel Shabazz’s photographs from East Harlem in 2010, which will be on display at his upcoming gallery show “Sights in the City.”
Brooklyn Paper
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He’s not thrown away his shots!

Take a step back in time to the summer of 1980 with Brooklyn-born photographer Jamel Shabazz’s upcoming gallery show “Sights in the City,” opening at United Photo Industries in Dumbo on May 4. The show will debut some never-before-published photos that candidly capture unique, simple moments of life in the city over the last four decades. The photographer’s favorite image in the upcoming gallery show is one of two young girls playing patty-cake, he said, because it is full of youth.

“It represents the innocence of children in a world full of prejudice and uncertainty,” said Shabazz, who was born and raised in Red Hook and now lives on Long Island.

Shabazz picked up his first camera at the age of 15 and has not stopped snapping since. He began his journey to document his friends and random subjects he had met along the way during that summer of 1980. Every image, whether simple black and white or in full color, is striking in its own way, said Shabazz.

“I can honestly say, that all of the images selected for this exhibit have special meaning,” he said.

Shabazz traveled the entirety of the city — including the tip of Coney Island to capture children enjoying the amusement park and bustling Times Square — but he has a few favorite spots to shoot in the borough he once called home, he said.

“Some of my hot spots to shoot in Brooklyn are Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for its beautiful landscape and greenery, and Coney Island for its rich history, and overall festive atmosphere,” said Shabazz.

Shabazz is now busy working on a new book of photographs from East Flatbush, to be called “East Flatbush Diaries: Photographs from 1980–1985,” he said.

“Sights in the City” at United Photo Industries Gallery [16 Main St. at Water Street in Dumbo, (718) 801–8099,]. Opening reception May 4, 6–9 pm. On display through June 17. Free.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:59 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John from Bay Ridge says:
Let's see. All of them must be in Riker's Island now
May 1, 2017, 8:54 am
Another John from Crown Heights says:
My brother Larry (fourth from left) is in the photo. He is a major in the U.S. army, stationed in South Korea. John, I hope you are not a police officer because you seem to assume all African-Americans are criminals.

Maybe you need to move out of Brooklyn if you don't like African-Americans, or maybe you just need to drop dead.
May 1, 2017, 7:36 pm
Cyril from BROOKLYN says:
To be or not to be a Creep, the music of Criminals, Brooklyn was founded as a settlement by Europeans, NOT by Crooks or farts ! You all are more alien than you know!
May 1, 2017, 9:51 pm

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