Harlem: Photographs of Camilo Jose Vergara 1970-2009
Pierre Gaspar,Street Evangelist, Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.
The man pictured above is someone every person from Harlem and Morningside Heights knows. His face might not be so familiar, but his sound is. On any given day he might be heard walking down Broadway screaming, “Alleluia! Alleluia!” I had no idea what his name was until I saw this photo from Camilo Jose Vergara’s exhibit at the New York Historical Society. When looking at his photos I can appreciate the knowledge he has of his subject matter, and the fact that it’s not just something he decided to do, but has to do in order to keep a visual record of memories which are often overlooked.
I’ve personally experienced the transitions occurring in Harlem now, and after through examining his photographs I’ve gained a greater knowledge of what was in some places before they came to be how I know them. It also reminds me how certain things will inevitably change from the way I remember them as well.
Girls, Barbie, Harlem, 1970
2093 Madison Avenue, Harlem, 1998
253 West 125th St., Harlem, 2009