Once upon a time before crack, Jamel Shabazz was on the scene, working the streets of New York City, capturing the faces and places of an era that have long since disappeared.
Once upon a time before crack, inner city communities were blighted by poverty and unemployment–but not by the drug wars that tore families apart, destroying lives with needless violence and mindless addiction. Once upon a time before crack, pride and style were as inseparable as a beatbox and mixtape, or as a pair of shoes and matching purse. Once upon a time before crack, Jamel Shabazz was on the scene, working the streets of New York City, capturing the faces and places of an era that have long since disappeared.
Best known as Hip Hop's finest fashion photographer for his blockbuster best-selling monograph, Back in the Days (powerHouse Books, 2001), Shabazz revisited his archive and unearthed an extraordinary collection of never-before-published documentary photographs collected for his third powerHouse Books release, A Time Before Crack, a visual diary of the streets of New York City from the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties, Shabazz's distinctive photographs reveal the families, the poses, and the players who made this age extraordinary.
Jamel Shabazz is best known for his iconic photographs of New York City during the 1980s. He has authored ten monographs and contributed to over three dozen other photography related books. His photographs have been exhibited worldwide and his work is housed within the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Fashion Instutite of Technology, the Gordon Parks Foundation and the Getty Museum. Over the years, Shabazz has instructed young students at the Studio Museum in Harlem's "Expanding the Walls" project, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture's "Teen Curators" program, and the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. He is also the 2018 recipient of the Gordon Parks award for his commitment to documentary photography. Shabazz is a member of the photo collective Kamoinge. As an artist his goal is to contribute to the preservation of world history and culture.