Brooklyn Public Library is showcasing the work of local Brooklyn photographer Jamel Shabazz in an exhibition opening December 13, 2012 and running through February 28, 2013. At the age of fifteen, he picked up his first camera and soon after began capturing how people within his community represented themselves. Inspired by photographers Leonard Freed, James Van Der Zee, and Gordon Parks, Shabazz embarked on an extensive journey to document various aspects of life both at home and abroad.
Shabazz built a massive and diverse body of work, but he was not always in that line of travail. He attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is a twenty year veteran of the New York City Department of Correction - an intriguing line of work for an artist who embarked down his creative avenue initially as a graffiti artist! With that said, it was his father who showed Shabazz the photographic ropes. “As a child coming of age, I was always surrounded by a host of art and photography books that my father had in his vast library,” Shabazz says. “Viewing these types of books sparked my interest in the visual arts. Once my father took notice of this, he slowly introduced me to the craft by teaching me basic fundamentals, such as lighting, composition, developing.” As Shabazz grew older, he engaged with photography as a medium through which to explore the world, meeting new people and cultures along the way. As he notes in his artist statement, Shabazz aims to contribute to the preservation of world history and culture for the benefit of future generations.
Check out The New York Times' writeup and stunning collection of Shabazz's photographs. Please join us in the upcoming months to view selections from his vast portfolio and take part in some of his explorations.
Jamel Shabazz Exhibition
Dec. 13, 2012 – Feb. 28, 2013
Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza
Grand Lobby, Foyer Cases, Balcony Cases