(image source | ALIFE)
Remember when the Lower East Side was the epitomy of NYC crime and grime? Of course you don’t, you were too scared to hang out down their before you could get a good Sunday brunch complete with a fruit flavored mimosa. Now that it is safe(r), I would highly recommend heading over to the latest ALIFE venture, the ALIFE Presents Gallery and view the Clayton Patterson Photographic Exhibit spanning 30 years of documenting the evolution of this notorious and historic part of NYC.
ALIFE PRESENTS and KINZ + TILLOU FINE ART are proud to
announce CLAYTON PATTERSON: L.E.S. CAPTURED, a co-produced exhibition that focuses on Patterson’s 30-year documentation of the dramatically transitioned Lower East Side neighborhood of New York City. The exhibition features select photographs, a digital showcase of Patterson’s Front Door portraits and screening of “The Documentarian”, a short from the widely acclaimed recent feature-length documentary, Captured, a film by Ben Solomon, Dan Levin, Jenner Furst.
A documentarian by choice and community activist by circumstance, Patterson’s career spans 30 years of dedicated and compulsive photographic capture of the neighborhood and its community. From documenting the 1988 Tompkins Square Park Police Riot—which earned him both jail-time and Oprah airtime—to photographing individuals posed in front of his gallery door on Essex Street, Patterson is the eyes of the Lower East Side.
His massive body of work is akin to an anthropologic visual catalog of record. The pictures are strikingly honest depictions of Lower East Side kids, families, thugs, lovers, drug dealers and users, disenfranchised artists, and others that would otherwise disappear from collective memory. They effectively preserve the rich culture that embodied the neighborhood during a socially and economically depressed period of New York City, and as it experienced rapid gentrification. They show an unedited humanity upfront and close-up. Each picture represents a door to a fascinating story, one that he can annotate with a sharp recollection and sensitive perspective.