In 1970, Chilean photographer and documentarian Camilo JosÃ© Vergara started documenting New York street life.
He sees photographs as ‘a means of discovery, as a tool with which to clarify visions and construct knowledge about a particular city or place’. With his New York City photographs he sought to capture the children, families and communities living among the city’s urban decay. Some of his pictures look like they could be war zones, depicting the worst areas of a city that suffered the worst of both city and state indifference.
Since the 1970s Vergara has completed many similar projects in other cities and is now in the midst of compiling ‘The Visual Encyclopedia of the American Ghetto’ to ‘visualise how ghettos change over time, understand the nature and meaning of social and economic inequality in urban America.’
The slideshow following is just a small selection of his work from New York City, but the pictures speak for themselves about the conditions at the time.
(Use the arrow keys to scroll through the slideshow)
Girls with Barbies, East Harlem, 1970