This collection of subway photographs from the ‘70s and ‘80s, curated by artist and blogger Sean Kernick , has been ricocheting around the blogosphere this week, and for good reason: The photos by Bruce Davidson, John F. Conn, Jamel Shabazz, and Martha Cooper are evocative and beautiful. Many people who dwell in New York City now see that Koch-era New York as somehow more authentic than our current, cleaned-up city. (Of course, we usually neglect the fact that back then, ” Everybody got mugged .”)
My favorite of the series is this one from Bruce Davidson , which depicts two apprehensive yuppies huddled together on the train. The man’s golden tie the only bright spot in the photograph; his partner’s eyes filled with semi-terror, looking off into the distance. If you’re looking for a bit more context for the world of the New York City subway system and its graffiti artists, watch Henry Chalfant’s documentary Style Wars , which originally aired on PBS in 1982. Check out New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott discussing the film in the clip below.