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Jamel Shabazz, the photographer who captures the energy of Brooklyn street life

1 min read  ·  26 Mar 2023

Jamel Shabazz, A Time of Innocence, 1981 Flatbush Brooklyn, copyright of the artist, courtesy of Brooklyn Museum.

Jamel Shabazz is a Black American photographer who has been capturing the energy of New York's streets since the 1980s. He is best known for documenting the youth culture of Brooklyn.

Jamel Shabazz's HENI Score, which is based on an artist's market and media coverage, increased an impressive 133% after his major retrospective at the Bronx Museum's "Eyes on the Streets” in 2022. To find out more, check out his HENI News Dashboard.

Shabazz’s images are featured in “New York Now: Home”, the photography triennial organised by the Museum of the City of New York (until August 27).

Shabazz's dedication to capturing the lives of marginalized communities is reflected in his use of photography as a tool to combat poverty and racism. The son of a professional photograher, he first took to the streets with his camera aged 15. He was inspired by the groundbreaking photographer Gordon Parks, amongst others. In 2022, Shabazz received the Gordon Parks Foundation/Steidel Book prize.

Shabazz's work has inspired the next generation of photographers documenting the culture of the street, as well as the joys and struggles of everyday life.

“In many cases, I tell them (people in the photographs) I love them,” Shabazz told AnOther magazine. “That’s why you see their smiling faces. I don’t have a problem saying it."

Jamel Shabazz is represented by Cologne-based gallerist Bene Taschen, the son of the art publisher Benedikt Taschen. In 2022, Bene Taschen organised a show of the photographer's work from the 1980s.