From 1977 to September 11th 2001, Richard Sandler regularly walked through Boston and New York City, encountering all that the streets had to offer. The results are presented here, many for the first time.
Sandler credits his fascination with street life to his years in New York as a teenager in the 1960s.
Sandler, a frequent truant, spent much of his time in a very different Times Square than we know today. His quests were to buy illegal fireworks and visit the arcades and side shows, particularly Hubert’s Flea Circus on 42nd Street.
Manhattan was a cyclone of faces: some at play, many clearly suffering. Such early impressions would come to play a significant role in his later street photography.
Living in Boston in 1977, he came to own a late 1940s Leica. He shot in Boston for three years before moving back home to photograph an edgy, nervous, angry, dangerous New York City.
In the 1980s, crime and crack were on the rise, and their effects were devastating the city. Graffiti exploded onto surfaces everywhere and the Times Square, East Village, and Harlem streets were riddled with drugs.
Throughout these turbulent years, Sandler paced the streets, using his knowledge of what the city was. Sandler’s work is the marbled evidence of this beauty mixing with decay as only his eyes could capture it.
Richard Sandler is a street photographer and documentary filmmaker. He has directed and shot eight non-fiction films, including The Gods of Times Square, Brave New York, and Radioactive City.
Sandler’s still photographs are in the permanent collections of the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, the New York Historical Society, and the Houston Museum of Fine Art. He was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship for photography, a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship for Filmmaking, and a New York State Council on the Arts fellowship also for Filmmaking.
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