Camilo Jose Vergara: “The Visual Encyclopedia of the American Ghetto”

Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara has been photographing the desperately poor neighborhoods of New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and 16 other cities for more than 30 years.

Harlem, New York

Harlem, New York

The creator of “How the Other Half Lives” maintains a Web site called Invincible Cities, which allows readers to interactively tour Camden, Harlem and Richmond, Calif.

A lot of this poverty and blight looks familiar.

Although you can’t yet interactively tour Detroit, Vergara once famously proposed making the city a museum of ruins. He talks about the evolution of American ghettos. Some, like Harlem, are eventually transformed. Some parts of Detroit, Gary, Indiana and Camden, N.J. will remain permanent ghettos, he says.

The purpose of his Invincible Cities, and an accompanying book, will be to “pinpoint and highlight regional differences and similarities between urban areas on the urban areas on the East Coast and West Coast as well as between the cities of the the Midwest.”

Vergara’s photos “ask a question,” he says.

This site is definitely worth a look.

3 Comments

Filed under Art, Featured

3 responses to “Camilo Jose Vergara: “The Visual Encyclopedia of the American Ghetto”

  1. Thanks for bringing this out. I’ve been a big fan of Vergara’s work for a while.

  2. Pingback: GLUEspace » Blog Archive » Thursday Rust Wire News Round-up

  3. I have pictures like that from an old convenience store that I used to own.

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