Back in the Days Remix

See the roots of hip-hop culture and '80 street style in Jamel Shabazz's rereleased photography book.

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  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Shabazz: "The color photograph of the four young boys was posed by me. I...

    Back in the Days Remix

  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Shabazz: "The black-and-white image was taken at Samuel J. Tilden High School...

    Back in the Days Remix

  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Back in the Days Remix

    Back in the Days Remix

  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Back in the Days Remix

    Back in the Days Remix

  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Back in the Days Remix

    Back in the Days Remix

  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Back in the Days Remix

    Back in the Days Remix

  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Back in the Days Remix

    Back in the Days Remix

  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Back in the Days Remix

    Back in the Days Remix

  • Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

    Back in the Days Remix

    Back in the Days Remix

Photograph: From Back in the Days: Remixby Jamel Shabazz; published by powerHouse Books

Shabazz: "The color photograph of the four young boys was posed by me. I...

Back in the Days Remix

Red Hook native Jamel Shabazz began taking photos at age 15, borrowing his mother's Kodak to shoot his graffiti-artist friends. As his photographic focus expanded, Shabazz captured the diverse fashions of NYC in the 1980s. His work from that era, published in the 2001 book Back in the Days, features New Yorkers proudly showing off their style, from Adidas kicks and leather jackets to Italian shoes and driving caps. From the beginning, the volume's unadulterated look at New Yorkers' street style sparked a flurry of interest in the scene, quickly selling out the first several runs and going on to push more than 35,000 copies.

Beyond a specific genre of music or style of clothes, Shabazz's photos celebrate city life and youth culture, even as the blights of crack and AIDS ravaged New York (he deals more directly with those issues in his photo collection A Time Before Crack). As pioneering rapper Fab 5 Freddy details in the introduction, Shabazz approached his subjects as friends, breaking the ice by offering a glimpse of his photo album. His inquisitiveness into these individuals' lives and futures was as important as his curbside picture-taking. "[Many of my subjects] would go on to become good friends who I am still in contact with today," says Shabazz.

The book's tenth anniversary has given Shabazz a chance to revisit the images, with a new edition to be released by owerhouse Books on June 21 (he'll chat about it on Thursday 2 at the Tenement Museum). The update adds more than 30 new photos and an afterward of recollections from Carlton Usher, a college professor who was once photographed by the artist. "So many wonderful opportunities have been afforded me since the release of Back in the Days.... [I've had] countless invitations to share my work and vision with a wide range of young people worldwide," says Shabazz. "I am often amazed that so many people appreciate my photographs and the feel of the '80s."

SEE HIM SPEAK! Back in the Days Remix: 10 Year Anniversary with Jamel Shabazz: The Tenement Museum, 108 Orchard St at Delancey St (212-982-8420, tenement.org). Thu 2 at 6:30pm; free.

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