Tracking Time and Change

Online Gallery of Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography

Since the early 1970s, Camilo José Vergara has chronicled the shifting fate of urban communities across the United States. As an immigrant settling in New York, he was first drawn to neighborhoods that were transitioning into Latino enclaves. He later adopted a time-lapse approach, photographing the same site year after year. Vergara used color photography to emphasize the grittiness of the streets and history embedded in public spaces. 65 East 125th Street, Harlem focuses on a store front that was once the Purple Manor, a thriving jazz venue in this historic African American neighborhood. The series shows the slow erosion of the past and the resourcefulness of residents and business owners during periods of economic decline. This ongoing series now tracks how gentrification and globalization are changing Harlem.

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