View from abandoned pier, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1970. “All of a sudden you would look around 360 degree angle, and there was the Trade Center.” Transcript excerpt from New York: The Center of the World, PBS WGBH American Experience Looking at the World Trade Center What was magical for me was that […]
Writer-photographer Camilo José Vergara’s deeply personal Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto is an unprecedented record of urban change. Vergara, a MacArthur fellow, will talk about the neighborhood he chronicled for 43 years, documenting segregation, poverty, and crime, and eventually, economic recovery, gentrification, and racial integration. Eric Washington, author of Manhattanville: Old Heart of West […]
Photographer and sociologist Camilo José Vergara discusses a photograph from the exhibition Detroit Is No Dry Bones on view at the National Building Museum (http://www.nbm.org/exhibitions-collec…).
In 1967, Camilo Vergara recorded the facade of a dilapidated building in South Bend, Indiana. In the decades since, he’s photographed other urban structures–such as storefront churches–and returned to photograph these buildings again and again. Vergara believes that the changing nature of these buildings reveals much about the social history of poor urban neighborhoods in […]
Front St. and North St., Camden, New Jersey, 1982 Conversation with Ilan Stavans and Camilo Jose Vergara STAVANS: Camillo Jose Vergara, you are a photographer of the American city, a city often in a state of decay. You were also born in Chile. As an outsider, does that affect the way you see the American […]
By Frederique Krupa, November 21, 1991 The New American Ghetto, on view (1991) at the Urban Center and Storefront for Art and Architecture, illustrates the problems of current urban community planning. The show is centered around the photographic research of Camilo Jose Vergara on a more general level and a detailed study of Mott Haven, […]
St. Rest M.B. Church, 3056-3058 West Polk St., Chicago By Camilo Jose Vergara An excerpt from Camilo Jose Vergara’s postscript to HOW THE OTHER HALF WORSHIPS (Rutgers University Press, 2005): For four years I had been attending Sunday services, Bible school, choir rehearsals, revivals, and anniversaries in the nation’s poorest urban neighborhoods. I attended services […]
Interview with Camilo Jose Vergara By Jesse Serwer What is it about American cities that draws you to document them versus, say, ghettos in other places like your native Chile? CJV: Here is where I live. I can’t just take the bus and go to Mexico. After a while you become interested in what’s around […]