During the three months before this Covid crisis that has shaken our world I did a massive edit and scanning of black and white negatives in my archive of work from 1970 -1995.
The New York material from 1978-1984 stood out and I began a book project with nine chapters that include: The Guardian Angels, Harlem (before gentrification), the Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and New York's longest subway line: The “A” Train.
When I returned to New York in 1978, I found a rent-controlled apartment on the upper west side, close to the neighborhood where I was born before our family moved to Brooklyn.This was during the days of disco and the American hostage crisis in Iran. The Apple Macintosh computer had not yet been invented.
Most parts of the city had yet to be gentrified. New York was going through hard times and still feeling the effects
of the 1975 fiscal crisis. People were afraid to ride the subways and it was common to see apartment doors with all kinds of elaborate locks. Mine had a steel bar rigged diagonally to the floor.
We were still living in an analog world then. It would be another 20 years before the industry went digital. Most of my commercial assignments were shot in color but like many photographers of my generation, I loved photographing in black & white. Color was a distraction.
I don’t take my two eyes for granted. Photography has helped me make sense of the world. It’s provided meaning, perspective, and much joy in my life. After close to fifty years it still does. When I think back, I can’t imagine who I’d be today if I hadn’t found photography.
New York Days 1978-1984
This is a brilliant collection of photographs of an earlier and forgotten New York City. Geoffrey Hiller’s powerful black and white photographs are as strong as the images we know by Helen Levitt, Danny Lyon, Roman Vishniac and Garry Winogrand. These important photographs are a visual pleasure and a reminder of New York’s vibrant diversity.
Very accessable by computer, tablet, or phone. Be sure to check out his past work as well.