Jamel Shabazz

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Jamel Shabazz
Born1960 (age 63–64)
Brooklyn, New York
Years active1980s–present
Known forBack in the Days

Jamel Shabazz (born 1960)[1] is an African-American fashion, fine art, documentary and street style photographer. His work has been published in books, shown in exhibitions, and used in editorial magazine works. He was born in Brooklyn, New York.[2]

Jamel Shabazz centered his work on minority people and areas of America during a very turbulent time in the country. He was a pioneer in creating awareness of the livelihoods of African-American and minority people in the dense New York City area. Jamel Shabazz was a master at using what was at his disposal to his advantage to create a realistic scene of being part of the black community in that time period and location. His works of art were created to express the joys and happiness that come along with growing up in the city. Jamel paints the minority poor class that lives therein a familiar and playful light that goes against many negative stereotypes people had at the time.

One of his more famous works is his photograph A Time of Innocence, taken in 1981 in Brooklyn, New York.This photograph depicted a group of young African American children playing and riding in a shopping cart in the midst of the chaotic street. This photograph caught a glimpse of the lives of the young black youth population and helped others see the bonds and community that they share.


His book Back in the Days (2002) collects Shabazz's street style photographs made in New York City between 1980 and 1989, which documents the emerging hip-hop culture.[3][4] The Last Sunday in June (2003) collects ten years of photographs of gay pride events in New York City.[5] Sights in the City: New York Street Photographs (2017) contains work from four decades of photographing people in the city.[6] City Metro (2020) contains photographs made between 1980 and 2018 of people on the New York City Subway.[7][8]

Shabazz's photographs have appeared in the 2007 documentary film Planet B-Boy, the 2008 exhibition Street Art Street Life: From the 1950s to Now in the Bronx Museum of the Arts,[9] and as the album cover art for the 2011 hip hop album Undun by The Roots. Shabazz appeared in the Cheryl Dunn 2010 documentary Everybody Street, "about photographers who have used New York City street life as a major subject in their work".[10]

In an interview with Nation19 magazine, Jamel said he used both analog film and digital photography.[11]

In 2016 Shabazz was portrayed by Cedric Benjamin in the second episode of Luke Cage. A fictionalized version of Shabazz appears in a flashback where he meets street thug Pop and his companions Cornell Stokes and Fredo Diaz, and asked them to pose for a picture, which they agreed to. In the following years, Pop kept a copy of the photo with him.[12][better source needed]


  • Back in the Days. Brooklyn: powerHouse, 2002. ISBN 978-1576871065.[3]
  • The Last Sunday in June. Brooklyn: powerHouse, 2003. ISBN 978-1576871720.[5]
  • A Time Before Crack. Brooklyn: powerHouse, 2005. ISBN 978-1576872130.[13]
  • Seconds of My Life. Brooklyn: powerHouse, 2007. ISBN 978-1576873601.[13]
  • Sights in the City: New York Street Photographs. Damiani, 2017. ISBN 978-8862085229.[14]
  • Back in the Days: Remix. Brooklyn: powerHouse, 2017. ISBN 978-1576875674.[4]
  • City Metro (2020)[15]



  1. ^ "High-flying Brooklyn boys on a magical trampoline: Jamel Shabazz's best photograph". The Guardian. 31 March 2021. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  2. ^ Dazed (3 March 2015). "40 years on NYC's streets with Jamel Shabazz". Dazed. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  3. ^ a b "Jamel Shabazz: "Back in the Days" (1980's)". americansuburbx.com. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  4. ^ a b "Jamel Shabazz: "Back in the Days" (Photos)". HuffPost. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  5. ^ a b Johnson, Ken (18 July 2003). "Art in Review; Jamel Shabazz -- 'Last Sunday in June: A Decade of Photographs'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  6. ^ Berger, Maurice (2 May 2017). "Jamel Shabazz's 40 Years of Sights and Styles in New York". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  7. ^ "City Metro: Jamel Shabazz's ode to New York's Subway". British Journal of Photography. 6 July 2020. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  8. ^ "Jamel Shabazz's joyful pictures of the New York City subway". Dazed. 13 May 2020. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  9. ^ Holland Carter (September 11, 2008). "Finding Art in the Asphalt". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
  10. ^ Everybody Street, Rollo Romig, 8 September 2010, The New Yorker (retrieved 24 January 2012)
  11. ^ "The Mathematics of Photography". Issuu. Nation19 Magazine. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Luke Cage" Code of the Streets (TV Episode 2016), retrieved 2017-06-08
  13. ^ a b "Jamel Shabazz: A Time Before Crack". Vice. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  14. ^ Rosen, Miss. "Photographer Jamel Shabazz Reflects on the Memories That Shaped His Vision of New York Street Style". Vogue. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  15. ^ Jacqui Palumbo. "Photographer Jamel Shabazz's radiant love letter to the New York City subway". CNN. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  16. ^ "The Gordon Parks Foundation/Steidl Book Prize : Jamel Shabazz". The Eye of Photography Magazine. 2022-03-25. Retrieved 2023-12-02.
  17. ^ "Jamel Shabazz". Lucie Awards. Retrieved 2023-12-02.

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