The Gordon Parks Foundation is pleased to present Albums, an exhibition of photography by Jamel Shabazz, a Gordon Parks Foundation / Steidl Book Prize recipient, opening today, April 27th at the foundation’s gallery in Pleasantville, New York.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Shabazz obtained his first camera in the mid-1970s and immediately began making portraits in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and The Bronx. His camera was also at his side while he worked as an officer at Rikers Island in the 1980s, where he made portraits of inmates that he later shared with their friends and family. Shabazz took his rolls of color film to be processed at a one-hour photo shop in Chinatown that provided two copies of each print. Shabazz typically shared one with his sitters, and the second he organized into changing, thematic albums that function as portfolios to be shared with future sitters. Jamel Shabazz: Albums, the culminating publication of the 2022 Gordon Parks Foundation / Steidl book prize, features Shabazz’s photo albums, spanning the 1970s through the 1990s. The exhibition at the Gordon Parks Foundation Gallery features over a dozen of these albums, all shown for the first time.
“The Gordon Parks Foundation is honored to show a group of Jamel Shabazz’s albums for the first time and to introduce over three decades of his groundbreaking street photography to new audiences through the publication of his book of the same name,” said Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of The Gordon Parks Foundation.
“Shabazz captured the beauty and pride of the people he encountered on the street in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” said Gordon Parks Foundation Programs Director Michal Raz-Russo. “We are thrilled to show this work as it was originally circulated—in the albums Shabazz arranged—which testify to the meaningful, lasting bonds he forged over the years within New York City communities and the lasting impact they had.”