In a two-day weekend workshop, participants of all levels and ages joined the legendary Jamel Shabazz on the streets of Manhattan and learned how to be great street photographers. The workshop began with Shabazz showing the class his iconic photographs of New York City from the 1980s. He refers to his work as “visual medicine,” because he tries to make people feel happy when they see his photographs. After hearing some sage advice, such as “Build a relationship with your subject, it becomes the key to come back to them later,” everyone took to the streets of lower Manhattan with their cameras in hand. The group walked over three miles together, taking photographs along the way, and even watching Shabazz take a few of his own. Throughout the day, Shabazz stuck with the group, giving them guidance and encouragement, and pointing out the occasional “perfect shot.”
On Sunday, the group met at Aperture to discuss the previous day’s activities. All the participants chose several of their most successful images from Saturday, and then had an informal critique with Shabazz. Each participant looked back on the experiences and challenges they faced when photographing. The workshop closed with a video that Shabazz looks to often for inspiration. As the participants departed, Shabazz surprised everyone with their own original print based on what they had shown interest in over the past two days.
About Jamel Shabazz
Jamel Shabazz is a documentary, fashion, and street photographer, and has authored eight monographs. His work has been exhibited in Italy, France, Korea, Turkey, Germany, Ethiopia, Brazil, and Japan and throughout the United States. Shabazz’s work is housed within the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Shabazz was the 2018 recipient of the Gordon Parks award.