Larry Racioppo: Brooklyn Before

 Saxophone Player and Young Girl, 11th Street, 1977 © Larry Racioppo Courtesy Cornell University Press

 "Brooklyn Before: Photographs, 1971-1983" is a new book of photographs by Larry Racioppo, out now from Cornell University Press. The book is chock full of street scenes of Brooklyn, a couple of decades before the gentrification of large parts of the borough. Larry recorded the feelings and the fashion in his beloved neighborhood. 

Guitarist, 40th Street, 1971

From the preface: "When I returned to Brooklyn in December 1970, after two years in California as a VISTA volunteer, I had no plans and a thrity-dollar camera I barely knew how to use. I was twenty-two years old and I wanted to become a photographer. I took a course at the School of Visual Arts, a job with the telephone company, and I began to photograph my family and friends in South Brooklyn."

Children on a Break from Pentecostal Church Services, 7th Avenue, 1979

I love this excerpt from Julia Van Haaften's essay: "Art photography was in full ascendency by 1980, when the critic John Russell asked Berenice Abbott, the rescuer of Atget's archive, about her professional practice a lifetime earlier. "Of course," she told him of her experience starting out from Man Ray's studio in 1925, "there were hardly any photographers in Paris then. It wasn't like today, when every other person is a photographer."

"Brooklyn Before: Photographs, 1971 - 1983" is out now from Cornell University Press, with essays by Tom Robbins and Julia Van Haaften. Hardcover only $34.95. If you like Arlene Gottfried, you are safe with Larry!

John's Caddy, 6th Avenue, 1975

All images © Larry Racioppo

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