Photo of the Day: And Now She Got Pearls

Photo of the Day: And Now She Got Pearls

Photography by: Jill Freedman, NYC

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Yesteryear’s New York: The Belly of the Beast

Jill Freedman: Love Kills (1979)

Jill Freedman: Tiffany

During the 1970s and 80s, an adventurous blonde named Jill Freedman with a quick eye for the unusual and bizarre focussed her camera upon the spirited characters and gritty sidewalks of a now-bygone era in New York City life. This modernist documentarian was a self-taught photographer who captured raw, intimate images in black and white, transforming urban scenes into theatrical dramas.

Freedman’s portrait of New York reflected a fallen city that was strewn with piles of garbage. Prostitutes and bag ladies walked the streets, while junkies staked out abandoned tenements next to children playing in vacant lots. For reasons involving both a shift in photographic styles and her own declining personal circumstances, Ms. Freedman faded from the popular scene in the late 1980s. But today, at a moment when much of Manhattan is awash in money and glamour, Freedman’s photographic legacy offers us a vivid portrait of a metropolis once defined by violence, poverty and disarray, a New York that once was.

Jill Freedman’s New York: Poverty, Violence and Disarray

Read more about Jill Freedman’s photography in The New York Times here.

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