"Jamel Shabazz is the witness of a lost generation and the memory of the Hip Hop Nation." (Grunitzky)
A TIME BEFORE CRACK
By Jamel Shabaz
Signed copy of this early photobook by renowned street photographer Shabazz, in the scarce first printing.
A TIME BEFORE CRACK
"Shabazz wanted to photograph Black and Latinx youth in a way that allowed them to shape how they wanted to be seen and understood by posterity." (Ford)
Painfully beautiful photobook by the Brooklyn native, documenting a generation of New York City youth between 1975 and 1984 in the years just before U.S. cities would see a massive influx of crack cocaine, followed by a wave of targeted police persecution and racially disparate sentencing laws that would take advantage of the 'war on drugs' to do devastating harm to Black communities. The book's photographs, many taken when Shabazz was himself a teenager, carry an overwhelmingly bittersweet nostalgia and, along with the accompanying essays, a furious sense of mourning for what could and should have been. "Through it all, even if we tried, I don't think anyone can ever forget the '80s. It was the decade that can best be described as the gift and the curse...It gave us hip hop culture and a life less ordinary." (Rodriguez)
Read more: Tanisha Ford, "Why Jamel Shabazz is New York's Most Vital Street Photographer," Aperture.
New York: powerHouse Books, (2005). 10.25'' x 7.75''. Introduction by Claude Grunitzky. Afterword by James "Koe" Rodriguez. Original pictorial boards. Pictorial endpapers. 152 pages. Inscribed on frontispiece margin: "To Cesar, Unity is key!! Jamel Shabazz". Corners scuffed. Slight edgewear to boards.
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