Filtering by Tag: Camilo Vergara

Camilo Vergara MLK Poster-bombing in Camden, NJ

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By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer

POSTED: August 19, 2013

As workers in Washington were removing scaffolding from the $120 million Martin Luther King Jr. statue on Saturday, Camilo José Vergara stood on a rickety ladder in Camden, taping images of King to the windows of an abandoned diner.

From each poster, a mural of King painted mostly by amateur artists in some of the nation's poorest cities looked out at a desolate strip of Mount Ephraim Avenue in Camden near West Collingswood.

"It seems this fits King, the King I imagine," said Vergara, a photographer whose photos of these murals commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's march, set for Washington later this month. "He was a person for everyone. This expands the celebration, the tribute, to other areas and raises questions. You have to look at this and say, 'What happened to the dream in Camden?' "

Vergara's posters of King, who struggled against poverty and segregation, covered the windows of the historic Elgin Diner in a parking lot blanketed in broken glass and litter. A syringe and a dirty diaper lay next to discarded chip bags and liquor bottles.

Vergara, a nationally renowned artist, approached the City of Camden through a friend to showcase his posters, but when he didn't hear back, he opted to take a more independent approach.

"Putting these up in City Hall as posters standing on easels or something like that didn't interest me too much," he said. "The idea was to do this in venues you would not pick for an exhibit."

For 40 years, Vergara has chronicled urban blight through photography; along the way, he has captured hundreds of murals dedicated to King. Last month, Vergara, originally from Chile and now living in New York City, became the first photographer awarded the National Humanities Medal. He's the author of six photography books, and a seventh, Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto, is due out in November.

In February the U.S. State Department commissioned 1,000 posters of his mural photos to be sent all over the world. His mission is to make sure they are also visible in U.S. cities where their message is most relevant.

"You get a very different perspective when you put King in D.C., in Independence Mall, where the focus will be accomplishments in the black struggle, but here in Camden, in L.A., in Brockton [Mass.], in Gary [Ind.] the questions are very, very different," said Vergara, who already has poster exhibits on buildings in the Bronx and plans for more in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Brockton, and Detroit.

Just as dawn broke Saturday, Vergara pulled up to the diner with a friend, Columbia law professor William Simon, who assured him that in the absence of no-trespassing signs their "poster-bombing" was technically legal.

Indeed, Peter Abdallah, Realtor for the property, later said he planned to leave the artwork up until the building is demolished in the next few months. The property is still for sale, but Abdallah said he was in talks with a developer to make it a Family Dollar store.

In about an hour, Vergara's team had covered the front of the diner with mural images of King from a garage in Chicago, an abandoned factory in Detroit, and even part of the "Equal Rights" mural that remains at Callowhill and Second Streets in Philadelphia.

Vergara's photos are in many cases the only existing record of these public artworks.

The representations of King reflect the communities where the murals were painted; sometimes his likeness is Asian or Hispanic. He might appear with Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, or Cesar Chavez.

Passersby stopped to ask questions. A few hoped the diner was reopening.

Joseph Adams walked by on his way to a barbershop. Adams, 50, grew up in Camden and called the diner a historic fixture.

Despite the deterioration of the city, he pointed out the obvious progress in front of him. "Who knows if blacks could even eat here when he was coming up?" Adams said of King. Then he lamented a lack of leadership to carry out King's dream.

"It's alive, but we still got a long way to go," Adams said. "I think he would have tried to make it better."

Click on this link to watch a video of Vergara's installation:

Camilo Vergara poster-bombs the Elgin Diner in Camden, NJ

TIME Online - Camilo José Vergara's 'The Dream Continues'

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The Dream Continues is a poster show of my photographs of popular, transitory murals depicting Martin Luther King, Jr. that I encountered when documenting the urban inner city over a period of forty years. The U.S. Department of State prepared one thousand copies of the thirteen 20” x 30” posters for travel around the world, and ten for me to do with as I wish. My plan is to exhibit those ten sets of posters in locations around the U.S. in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington that took place on August 27,1963.”

Camilo José Vergara is the first photographer to receive the National Humanities Medal, which was awarded to him earlier this year by President Barack Obama. The Dream Continues limited edition posters were funded by the U.S. Department of State and will be on view in various cities throughout the country starting August 14.

To view a slideshow of Vergara's Martin Luther King murals, follow this link (scroll down to the bottom).

Time Lightbox - Camilo José Vergara

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From the Inner Cities to the White House: Photographs by Camilo José Vergara

4344 West Madison St., Chicago, 1981.

For more than four decades photographer Camilo José Vergara has devoted himself to documenting history.  His work—often focused on the poorest and most segregated communities in urban America—strives for objectivity and speaks directly about reality and how it changes over time. Vergara’s dedicated and meticulous approach—in which he has returned to the same locations at regular intervals over the years to document their decay (and sometimes renewal)—has often been a solitary and dogged one.

While his work has not yet received the acceptance of the gallery world, he can be considered one of the most important photographic documentarians of his age. Vergara’s photography has found support from museums and historical societies, earning him a MacArthur fellowship in 2002. This week, Vergara’s unique and enduring work will be recognized at the White House where President Obama will present him with the National Humanities Medal. He is the first photographer ever to receive the honor. Here, he writes for LightBox about his work.

Recent revelations about the astonishing scale of governmental snooping by America’s National Security Agency (the NSA) begs some rather troubling questions. Are photographers today leaving the recording of history — and thus the telling of history — to an exponentially growing number of surveillance cameras, to governmental spy programs and to social-media behemoths like Facebook, Instagram and Google? Or, perhaps even more dismaying, have photographers ceded control over the visual narrative of their time to high-end photography books that either aestheticize their subjects or rely solely on pictures culled from historical archives?

The most distinctive characteristic of my own work is the way in which I combine my photographs with both precise data and sociological analysis. My archive, while vast, is slim in comparison to the immense number of images found in online image banks, yet it has the virtue of possessing a genuine continuity over time; it includes the voices of my subjects; and it features my observations about the look and feel of the places I document, as well through the results of historical research.

As MIT Professor Anne Whiston Spirn has said of photography, it “can be a way of thinking about landscape, a means to read a landscape, to discover and display processes and interactions, and to map out the structure of ideas.” As a medium of inquiry, photography is, ultimately, “a disciplined way of seeing.”

For more than four decades I have devoted myself to photographing and systematically documenting the poorest and most segregated communities in urban America.  My focus is on established East Coast cities such as New York, Newark and Camden; rust belt cities of the Midwest like Detroit and Chicago; and such West Coast cities as Los Angeles and Richmond, California.

I began my documentation in the tradition of such masters as Helen Levitt, Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson, for all of whom the human figure was integral to their work. But increasingly, I became drawn to the urban fabric of America’s poor inner cities — to the buildings that composed it and the life and culture embedded in its structures and streets.

Not wanting to limit the scope of my documentation to places and scenes that captured my interest merely because they resonated with my personality, I have struggled to make as complete and objective a portrait of America’s inner cities as I could. Thus, I developed a method to document entire neighborhoods and then to return year after year to re-photograph the same places over time and from different heights, blanketing entire communities with images. Along the way I became a historically conscious documentarian, an archivist of decline, a photographer of walls, buildings and city blocks.

Bricks, signs, trees and sidewalks have spoken to me the most truthfully and eloquently about urban reality. For me, a people’s past, including their accomplishments, aspirations and failures, are reflected less in the faces, postures and clothing of those who live in these neighborhoods than in the material, built environment in which they move and that they modify over time. Photographs taken from different levels and angles, with perspective-corrected lenses, form a dense web of images, a visual record of these neighborhoods over years and even decades. I write down observations, interview residents and scholars, and make comparisons with similar photographs I have taken in other cities.

Studying my growing archive, I discover fragments of stories and urban themes in need of definition and further exploration. Some areas decline as longtime businesses give way to empty storefronts, graffiti and garbage, while others gentrify, with corporate chain stores replacing local mom-and-pop enterprises. I capture the ever-vital street life of neighborhoods, from stoop gatherings and parades to murals memorializing drug dealers, rappers and great leaders who are especially admired in such neighborhoods. I also look for the new shapes of old businesses, of emerging new ones and of new uses for old places. Wishing to keep the documentation open, I include places such as empty lots, which as segments of a temporal sequence are often especially revealing.

After 2000 my documentation entered a new phase. I began to do online searches of words, themes and addresses. With a simple Google search for a particular location, I was able to find newspaper and magazine articles, religious pamphlets, student papers and announcements for conferences and political meetings, all of which enriched the content of my research and prompted me to ask fresh questions and take new photographs. I discovered information about people who lived in the locations I photographed, read about events such as crimes, fires and stores and institutions coming to or abandoning neighborhoods, and learned about historical events that had taken place nearby. After the appearance of Google Maps (2005) and Google Street View (2007), these too became important research tools, allowing me to revisit the locations of my photographs and to go beyond the frames of the images to explore the streets around them. Whenever in doubt about the location of an image, I search for the correct address with Google Satellite or Street View.

I see photography as a medium that spurs continuous inquiry and thus leads to greater understanding of the spirit of a place.  I think of my images as bricks that, when placed in context with each other, reveal shapes and meanings within these often neglected urban communities. Through photography, I have become a builder of virtual cities.

My hope is that my long-term records will become part of our collective urban memory.

Camilo José Vergara is a 2002 MacArthur fellow whose books include American Ruins and How the Other Half Worships. LightBox has previously featured his work on MLK Murals, the World Trade Center and Everyday Life in the Hood: New York 1970 – 1973. You can see more of his photos on his web site and can contact him at

Text courtesy of Time LightBox

Time Lightbox: Photo Essay by Camilo José Vergara

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Everyday Life in the Hood: New York 1970-197

Camilo José Vergara

Puerto Rican Wedding, East Harlem, 1970

Click here for more images from essay.

When I arrived in New York City in 1970, the Bronx was burning. I was photographing New York City during the Vietnam War before it barely escaped bankruptcy and before the Internet. Once-imposing and elegant buildings were derelict; the streets were dirty; parks were semi-abandoned and decrepit-looking schools evoked a culture different and separate from mainstream America. Abandoned buildings decayed. packs of dogs moved in and trees spontaneously took root and grew on their roofs. Squatters forced open doors and made holes in the walls. They removed boards from the windows to allow for light and ventilation, transforming empty buildings into homes for the homeless, places to sell drugs or serve as “shooting galleries.” The diamond-topped clock at Bloom Jeweler on Westchester Avenue in the Bronx had stopped at 6:20.

Bushwick, Brooklyn, 1970

I was attracted to ghetto neighborhoods because they were gritty, tough, militant places, as evidenced in the large murals painted on the side of burnt-out shells encouraging blacks and Latinos to break the chains of oppression, to be born again, to be free. These were decaying, depopulated, dangerous, mysterious and exciting neighborhoods. The vibrant street life, the rebellious spirit, the absence of white people, the scenes of destruction all around me and the constant fear of being mugged made my visits unpredictable and memorable. In the streets I encountered a level of suspicion, anger and confusion matching my own. People didn’t know where the next blow was coming from.

Sidewalks were an extension of people’s confined living spaces. Men stand against a wall, rolling dice. Churches keep their doors open for ventilation as they conduct Bible-study programs, choir practices and board meetings. Church members sat on the sidewalk in front of their houses of worship. In those days, adults smiled as you photographed their children, asking you to share the photos with them.

Westchester Ave. South Bronx 1970Westchester Ave. South Bronx 1970

I became an eavesdropper and a voyeur because I believed that the spirit of the ghetto would reveal itself through random bits of overheard conversation. I situated myself near public phones, listening intently to what people said and writing it down. In one long conversation I heard a man describe how his girlfriend had thrown all his belongings out of the apartment window into the street below.

Since I admired the work of photographers Helen Levitt, Aaron Siskind, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Roy DeCarava, I was delighted to encounter street scenes similar to those captured by these masters: black children playing with white dolls, jumping on discarded mattresses, and opening fire hydrants to spray friends and passersby. I photographed people walking up and down the stairs to the subway, men playing dominoes, naïve commercial signs, torn and faded advertisements, and, of course, graffiti. Sometimes I joined family members photographing weddings as they spilled out onto the streets. I went inside tenement buildings to make portraits of elderly people sitting in the dark looking at the street.

I wanted to capture the intimate life of the ghetto with the most sensitive film — my choice was high speed Ektachrome. I carried several lenses with me: wide angle lenses to capture panoramas and a telephoto in order to better record scenes undetected. During my early documentation I neglected to record names of people and addresses of buildings. What was the point of recording such information when the masters of photography themselves seldom included it with their work? All Henri Cartier-Bresson did was label a photograph “Family, Mexico 1934.” Like them, I was simply trying to capture essences that transcended time, personal names and physical space.

Fear was part of my photographic ventures. I learned to walk fast and to cross the street to avoid groups of menacing youths loitering on the other side. Several times I was told to clear out of the neighborhood — otherwise my camera would be taken or broken. Once I was punched in the face. My glasses fell in front of an unlicensed “gypsy cab.” Face on the ground, I watched the cab run over them. On the rare occasion when I encountered a police car on these blocks, policemen usually suspected I was in search of drugs. After asking if I was lost, they advised me to leave, warning me that if I stayed I would be robbed.

Lower East Side, 1970

In the early 1970s I witnessed the stabbing of a young black man from the Metro North commuter train platform at East 125th Street and Park Avenue. It was a sunny afternoon, and I never thought of photographing the event. The blood was shinning red on the bare chest of the victim. I remember the assailant carrying the knife, first running slowly away, looking back several times as if not wanting to break his link with his victim, then running faster until he disappeared around the corner onto Madison Avenue.

When I showed my photographs to gallery and museum curators they were disinterested. Among these is the photograph of a black man driving his horse-drawn carriage full of junk north toward Harlem, along what seems to be Park Avenue. Another photo shows an elderly woman sitting on the sidewalk — on the wall behind her is a painted mural of the skyscraper city. Another one taken from the elevated subway platform show a man reading about the Baltimore Orioles.

Eager to be tough, I rejected my beginning efforts as sentimental and unoriginal. In 2013, I am happy my earliest pictures of New York survived. I see these images as fading glimpses of a city that disappeared — unique historical artifacts depicting intimate moments of people who stayed behind and documents of the decrepit buildings they inhabited.

Camilo José Vergara is a 2002 MacArthur fellow whose books include American Ruins and How the Other Half Worships. His newest book Harlem, the Unmaking of a Ghetto will be published by the University of Chicago Press in the fall. Vergara may be reached at

Text and images courtesy of Time Lightbox.

ARTnews: American Ruins

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Disaster Photography: When is Documentary Exploitation?

BY  POSTED 02/06/13

Photographers who produce spectacular images of Detroit, Chernobyl, and other ravaged areas have sparked disagreements whether they are exploiting others’ misfortune—or just covering the bad news

Mitch Epstein’s Biloxi, Mississippi 2005 vividly represents the inversion of normalcy that is Hurricane Katrina’s legacy.©BLACK RIVER PRODUCTIONS, LTD. AND MITCH EPSTEIN/COURTESY SIKKEMA JENKINS & CO., NEW YORK.

“RUIN PORN” is a phrase so immature and gawky it isn’t sure how seriously to take itself. Like its linguistic relatives “animal porn,” “shoe porn,” “food porn,” “real estate porn,” and “fill-in-the-blank porn,” it’s a smirking neologism that may or may not aspire to be a social critique.

The Internet spawns much of this language and protects it behind high walls of irony. A weakness for videos of kittens and puppies, or photographs of Christian Louboutin shoes, is generally deemed a harmless vice. Being too self-righteous about the dangers of any sort of porn invites ridicule from bloggers and tweeters.

Then again, by linking a subject to an erotic genre calculated to excite us with a stock set of provocative fantasies, inventors or adopters of these compound nouns can also claim to be doctors of the postmodern soul, identifying unnoticed and insidious tropes in our glutinous diet of images.

James Griffioen, writer and photographer of “Sweet Juniper,” a Detroit-based blog, is usually credited as the father of the term “ruin porn.” He was first quoted using it in a 2009 piece in Vice magazine byThomas Morton, who had asked Griffioen to guide him around the Motor City after the 2008 financial meltdown.

As they rode around trash-choked neighborhoods and padlocked factories, Griffioen voiced his disgust with journalists and artists who would drop into the city to record and lament its decline without considering the events, stages, and forces that had led up to it. As Griffioen explains, “The few photographers and reporters I met weren’t interested at all in telling the story of Detroit, but instead gravitated to the most obvious (and over-photographed) ‘ruins,’ and then used them to illustrate stories about problems that had nothing to do with the city (which has looked like this for decades). I take pictures of ruins, too, but I put them in the context of living in the city. These photographers were showing up with $40,000 cameras to take pictures of houses worth less than their hotel bills.”

Some of the same principles, he notes, “that apply to pornography—exploitation, detachment, etcetera—easily apply” to this situation. Thus, from a snarky aside a meme was born.

In the last three years, “ruin porn” has found acceptance in on- and off-line publications from Salon to the New York Times Magazine, and also gained traction as an academic topic. A symposium last November at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation brought together two writers, Camilo José Vergara (American Ruins, 2003) and Andrew Herscher(The Unreal Estate Guide to Detroit, 2012) who have focused on America’s Rust Belt ruins. They were joined by photographer Andrew Moore, whose 2010 book Detroit Disassembled—featuring lush color pictures of abandoned buildings and other signs of abject neglect—is cited by many bloggers, including Griffioen, as the epitome of an artistic genre they decry.

Click here to read full article.

Text courtesy of ARTnews.

Camilo José Vergara: TIME LightBox

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The Dream Continues: Camilo José Vergara's Photographs of MLK Murals

By Camilo José Vergara

August 28, 2012
Alley west of South Avalon Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1998

Photographer Camilo José Vergara has spent his career photographing the poorest and most segregated communities in urban America. As part of this work, Vergara has spent the last 30 years documenting murals and signs, many of them including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in cities across the U.S. Vergara’s unique visual record draws distinct categories of how Dr. King’s likeness appears in these hand-painted tributes: as the “everyman,” a mythic figure, defaced, with company in African American and Latino pantheons and, since 2009, alongside President Barack Obama. Here, on the 49th anniversary of the March on Washington, Vergara writes about the role these images play in American culture.

In America’s inner cities, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a popular subject of street art. Since the 1970′s, I have documented many of these hand-painted images of Dr. King along the streets and alleys of cities from New York and Los Angeles to Chicago and Detroit. Portraits of the slain civil rights leader appear on liquor stores, barbershops and fast food restaurants. Often Dr. King’s famous pronouncement, “I have a dream,” accompanies his image on the wall.

I didn’t set out to intentionally document murals and signs—rather, I found one and photographed it, then another, and soon I had a unique, well defined collection of images of Dr. King. And in talking to artists and storekeepers, I learned that these folk images expressed the way inner-city residents saw him.

LEFT: April 12, 1968 issue of LIFE; RIGHT: Avalon Auto Repair, Colden Avenue, Los Angeles, 2005

On the streets, Dr. King is represented in many ways–sometimes a statesman, other times a visionary, hero or martyr. Some paintings show Dr. King proud and thoughtful with his hand under his chin, while in others he looks friendly and compassionate, arms outstretched.

The sign painters and amateur artists who create these portraits use iconic photographs of Dr. King to model their subject. However, they often fall short of producing a perfect likeness. It is not uncommon for Dr. King to look Latino, Native American or Asian.

These portraits of Dr. King serve many purposes – from selling merchandise to encouraging a sense of security, identity and pride in poor communities. In Los Angeles, after the riots in 1992, many Latino shopkeepers painted Dr. King’s portrait on the façades of their businesses in the hope of deterring rioters.

In Black neighborhoods, portraits of Dr. King rarely include Caucasian or Latino figures. Rather, Dr. King is often accompanied by icons such as Malcolm X, who represents the embodiment of righteous anger, or other Black leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks. And while Dr. King continues to be a popular icon, portraits of Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela have been steadily declining.

In group portraits, Dr. King takes center stage, often appearing physically larger than the rest. Since 2009, Dr. King has been painted with President Obama, a local resident explained the pairing saying: “Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama ran so we can all fly.”

In Latino neighborhoods, figures such as Pancho Villa, Benito Juarez and the Virgin of Guadalupe appear with Dr. King. In Detroit, among the ruins of what once was the city’s Chinatown, I found a memorial mural to Vincent Chin, a Chinese American auto-worker who was the victim of a race-motivated murder, in it Dr. King had Asian features. On a viaduct in Chicago’s South Side, I discovered a mural by the artist B. Walker that depicted Dr. King as a crucified saint. Clearly influenced by the Mexican muralist tradition, Walker painted Dr. King with pronounced Mexican-Indian features.

LEFT: Francis Miller—LIFE; RIGHT: Camilo José Vergara
LEFT: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving his "I Have a Dream" Speech to huge crowd gathered for the Mall in Washington DC during the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom (aka the Freedom March) RIGHT: 219 E. MLK Blvd, LA, 2006, by Debbie Husband, The Original Bill Taco House

Most murals and street portraits of Dr. King are ephemeral. Paint fades, businesses change hands and neighborhood demographics shift. Gradually, images reflecting the culture and values of poor communities are lost. Folk art museums collect objects, but seldom photographs. Museums, if they collect murals at all, are typically interested in commissioned works by professional artists. Often, my photographs are the only lasting record of these public works of art.

It is ironic that given Dr. King’s life-long struggle against segregation and poverty, his name and likeness have become one of the defining visual elements of the American ghetto, a place he worked his whole life to abolish. His dream of justice and equality for all seems as distant today, if not more so, than when he was alive.

I love the street images of Dr. King in all their earnest misrepresentations because of the hopes they embody. As I find and photograph them on my urban explorations, I am happy building my own Smithsonian—a permanent record of historical work on subject matter which is often overlooked, and without cataloguing, would otherwise be lost.

It is my strong belief that portraits such as these are rare and should have been part of the American memory, but it bothered me that they hadn’t been—a fact that is changing: On Jan. 18, the New York Historical Society is slated to open an exhibition of these images to celebrate what would have been Dr. King’s 84th birthday. After the closing of the exhibition, the photographs will become part of their permanent collection.

Camilo José Vergara is a 2002 MacArthur fellow whose books include American Ruins and How the Other Half Worships. You can see more of his photos on his web site and can contact him at

An exhibition of Vergara’s MLK photographs will be on display at the New York Historical Society beginning January 2013.

All photos courtesy Rose Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif.

Text courtesy of TIME LightBox

Camilo José Vergara

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Detroit Is No Dry Bones

Photographs by Camilo José Vergara

Opening September 30, 2012

Detroit has lost nearly sixty percent of its population since the mid-1950s. Sociologist and photographer Camilo José Vergara has traveled to Detroit for over twenty five years to document not only the city’s precipitous decline but also how its residents have survived. Vergara’s photographs reveal the city of Detroit as a place in which enormous ruins coexist with myriad restaurants, car-repair shops, churches and gardens—a city that is continually re-inventing itself even as it shrinks.

Of his work, Vergara states “My belief is that by creating a photographic record of Detroit, as it is taken over by nature and pulled down by gravity, people will come to appreciate how the city continues to survive and to give answers to those who come to observe it…The empty land, the art projects, the graffiti commentaries, and the ruins of the city’s industrial past make Motown an unforgettable city of the imagination and could provide the basis for a new Detroit.”

View east along East Palmer ST. toward Chene on a 95-degree day, Detroit, 1995
© Camilo José Vergara

View east along East Palmer St. towards Chene, Detroit, 2012
© Camilo José Vergara

Camilo José Vergara

Camilo José Vergara is a photographer, documentarian, and author whose subject is America’s inner cities. Currently residing in New York, Vergara was born in Santiago, Chile, and received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame in 1968 and a Master's in sociology from Columbia University in 1977. He first began recording urban landscapes in 1970 and has systematically photographed some of America’s most impoverished neighborhoods in New York City, Newark, Camden, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Gary, Milwaukee, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Named a MacArthur Fellow in 2002, Vergara is one of the nation's foremost urban documentarians.

Vergara lectures widely and is the author of numerous books and essays. His photographs have been the subject of more than half-a-dozen exhibitions and have been acquired for the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Library of Congress, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the New York Historical Society among other institutions. Detroit Is No Dry Bones marks the Museum's fifth collaboration with Vergara.

Detroit Is No Dry Bones is one of two photography exhibitions the National Building Museum is presenting in the fall of 2012 that explore the residential, commercial, and industrial ruins and surviving communities of Detroit, Michigan. Learn more about the concurrent exhibition Detroit Disassembled.

Text and images courtesy of National Building Museum and Camilo José Vergara

Camilo Jose Vergara: Twin Towers and the City

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The Twin Towers and the City: Photographs of Camilo Jose Vergara

3 September through 4 December

MacArthur award-winning photographer Camilo Jose Vergara’s four decades-long study of the World Trade Center captures the Twin Towers’ place in the history of the city, their colossal presence on New York’s skyline, and their surprising gracefulness. Beginning in the 1970s, the photographer repeatedly turned his lens on the towers from vantage points throughout the metropolitan area.  The resulting images, showing Brooklyn, New Jersey, the Bronx, or Manhattan in the foreground with the towers in the distance, are a startling and poetic reminder of how ubiquitous the towers were in the landscape of city life, even in spots far removed from Lower Manhattan. The exhibition will also highlight multiple sequences – many never before exhibited -- showing changing views from the 1970s, 1980s, 2001, and 2011. Together, they document the remaking of the city's skyline as well as surrounding neighborhoods, shedding new light on the ever-transforming metropolis.

Information curtesy of The Museum of the City of New York.