Saturday, February 8, 2014

Camilo José Vergara

The best-known architectural photographer of inner city America was born in Chile in 1944 and his name is Camilo José Vergara.  The artist's elaborate archival site Invisible Cities, supported by Rutgers University and the Ford Foundation, documents much of his work in ghettos across the U.S. over the past four decades. And every so often another of his marvelously depressing coffee table books comes into the world, with street views of what "progress" actually looks like over time. University of Chicago Press recently published the newest of these  Harlem. Its pages offer many spreads like that above, showing the same geographical location  in this case, the same address at 167 East 125th Street  as recorded by Vergara in 1980 (top), in 1999 (middle), and in 2007 (bottom).