Harlem by Camilo José Vergara
Vergara himself offers this eloquent testament to his mission:
Since 1977 I have been recording changes in the urban world, becoming along the way an archivist of decline, a documentarian of walls, buildings, and city blocks. Bricks, signs, trees, and sidewalks: these were things that spoke to me as truthfully and eloquently about urban reality as the people. I felt a people’s history-their accomplishments, failures and aspirations-were not only reflected in their faces and their bodies, but in the material world in which they lived and which they helped to shape….” If I did not get an image right the first time, I could return the following week….I chose to record the changing nature of the city itself…I saw my mission as compiling a record of the destruction and violence done to New York at the height of America’s urban crisis of the 1960s and 1970s.
Please visit Vergara’s website to learn more about his unique documentation of Harlem. The works on display are a generous gift from the artist to the New-York Historical Society.