Upper West Sider Stephen Harmon loved to walk around the neighborhood in the 1980’s and snap pictures of the colorful people. See some of them below.

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ART, HISTORY | 9 comments | permalink
    1. Christine E says:

      Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing.

    2. Edie says:

      97th street park where they filmed The Warriors in the first shot. I remember when graffiti ruled the park back then. Good times!

    3. Lulu says:

      Nice shots! Unrelated but similar. Vanity Fair this month had a good article on Charivari (sp?) and UWS

    4. dannyboy says:

      Golda Meir?

    5. ScooterStan says:

      Great Street Photography, especially the first, sixth, and eighth (eighth actually the best, for the mysterious, possibly scared look on her face!).

      Cf. Bresson’s “Decisive Moment”.

    6. cMa says:

      if there are more like these, they deserve an exhibit.

    7. Lucien says:

      Great photos. Nice lighting and framing. What really is fun to see is the colors coming from that film stock. It almost has a surreal effect to it.

    8. Why We Can't Have Nice Things says:

      I have to agree with the others who posted: these are quite good. Perhaps even great.

      (I must wonder about the dates, though; might these actually have been taken in the 1970‘s and not the 1980’s as WSR wrote? I ask because of all of the bell-bottoms, which I had never associate with the 80’s but rather the 60’s and 70’s.)

      Is there a site where we can see more of Mr. Harmon’s work or at least learn something about him?

      It would be interesting to compare these with the work of the the late Edward Yourdon, whose passing was noted here back in January.

      I wonder if any of Stephen Harmon’s candid photos were of children? What I particularly appreciate about Yourdon’s work is that it certainly included captures of random children that he observed in public.

      Scooter Stan mentioned the legendary Henri Cartier-Bresson, whose name is perhaps the single one most associated with and credited for the genre of street photography. I note that a number of Bresson’s images were candid captures of random children. And this, as shocking as it may be to many today, is even more true for such figures as Helen Levitt, Jacob Riis and any number of other masters in this field; many of their most celebrated and iconic images were candid captures of random children in the street, in playgrounds and in other public places . (Some examples can be seen here, here and here.)

      Photography of minors who are present in public or in places visible from the public is still perfectly legal* as well as
      quite harmless. But sometime in more recent years a climate of hysteria and even vigilantism began to prevail in this area. This had a chilling effect on such candid child photography, resulting in this great and delightful art largely becoming a lost one. Alas.

      (*See also: )

      I am not sure as to the specific time line here but I believe that by at least sometime in the 1980’s, the pedo-hysteria in-question was already well underway and that it may have peaked sometime in the late 90’s or later. Looking at history can perhaps give us some hope that more reasonable and enlightened attitudes will, eventually, yet again prevail in this area. Let us hope.