Invincible Cities: Harlem’s Painted Lady on East 125th Street

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (1977)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (1977)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (1990)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (1998)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (2001)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (2007)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (2009)

Invincible Cities: 65 East 125th St. (2009)

Invincible Cities: Harlem’s Painted Lady on East 125th Street

The ghetto poses urgent questions I feel compelled to respond to,
Not with solutions but with explanations and tangible records.
I am driven to publicize and preserve the memory of these environments.
–Camilo José Vergara

Camilo José Vergara has spent more than thirty years documenting poor, urban and minority neighborhoods across the United States. His projects emerge from a large archive of images he has made since 1977 of the nation’s largest ghettos. His exhaustive research has taken him to Camden and Newark, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Maine; New York; and Los Angeles. Vergara takes his camera to places plagued by the drug trade, and to neighborhoods filled with homeless shelters, prisons, and drug treatment facilities. He is a prolific photographer who continues to live in New York City. Vergara has been the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

Vergara describes his approach as interdisciplinary, using techniques from fields that include sociology, architecture, photography, urban planning, history and anthropology. He has focused upon the gradual erosion of urban neighborhoods by photographing the same structures repeatedly over decades in order to capture the process of of urban decay. The photography presented here is from Vergara’s project entitled Invincible Cities. He returned to the same intersection in Harlem and photographed the changes in one building for 38 years. The images create a composite, time-lapse portrait of one of New York City’s most vibrant and distinctive areas.

Camilo Vergara Documents the Changing Urban Landscape

Photo-Gallery: Invincible Cities: Harlem’s Painted Lady on East 125th Street

(Please Click Image to View Photo-Gallery)

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