Jamel Shabazz legendary street and documentary photographer

Richard Beavers Gallery
Jun 11, 2014 10:13PM

Jamel’s works are part of permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institution, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Rubell Collection in Miami , the Bronx Museum of the arts, The Museum of FIT and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Shabazz's work appeared at the Post-War and Contemporary Art; Christie's Auction House in 2006. He has gained international recognition through his various books, Exhibitions, and editorial magazine works.

Jamel is also the subject of a documentary appropriately titled Street Photographer directed by Charlie Ahearn, he’s also featured in the documentary Everybody Street by Cheryl Dunn chronicling photographers who have used New York City street life as a major subject in their work.

At the age of fifteen, Jamel picked up his first camera, a 110 Kodak instamatic and started to document his friends and family. Inspired by photographers Leonard Freed, James Van Der Zee, and Gordon Parks, Jamel was marveled with their documentation of the African American community. A few years later, Jamel purchased a Canon AE 1 camera and embarked on a 35 year journey documenting various cultures and people, both here and abroad building a massive body of work, from fashion, documentary and fine art photography.

This experience has created a platform that allowed him to produce five monographs based on his experience. They are “ Back in the Days”, “ The Last Sunday In June”, “ A Time Before Crack”, “ Seconds of my life” and “ The Remix.” He has also contributed to a number of other publications as well.

Shabazz says his work is focused on the human experience, which is clearly supported by the titles of some of his two dozen solo exhibitions; “Men of Honor”, “A Time Before Crack”, “New York Underground” “Women Only”, When two Worlds Meet”, “Back in the Days,” and “Seconds of my Life,” which have been shown from Argentina to Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, as well as various cities throughout the United States.

An even longer list of group showings includes the Brooklyn Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the Contact Photo Festival in Toronto, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Addis Photo Festival in Ethiopia. Shabazz studied at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. 

 Jamel has worked with the Bronx Museum based Teen Council, the Friends of the Island Academy and the Studio of Harlem’s Expanding the walls project; all community centered organizations that teach high school students various forms of art, photography, communication, and social responsibility.    

Richard Beavers Gallery