Why Jamel Shabazz Is New York’s Most Vital Street Photographer
Since the early 1980s, Shabazz has captured the energy of street life and hip-hop culture in New York, making indelible images of joy, style, and community.
New York is a ghost town. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the metropolis to a standstill. Many are scared to even leave their apartments to buy groceries. The globe-trotting photographer Jamel Shabazz is tucked away in his Long Island home, his “sanctuary.” Shabazz’s world is rocked daily by yet another phone call announcing the death of a loved one. It is a calendar of loss with which he is intimately familiar. He survived the 1980s crack era and the AIDS crisis, when so many friends from his Brooklyn neighborhoods—Red Hook and then East Flatbush—did not.