Vibrant photos capture spirit of 1980s NYC

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Vibrant photos capture spirit of 1980s NYC
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Vibrant photos capture spirit of 1980s NYC
A young boy demonstrates a backflip on a broken box-spring mattress in a lot Brooklyn, New York, New York, late 1970s or early 1980s. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a nattily dressed young man as he strikes a pose on a Brooklyn sidewalk, New York, New York, 1980. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young man, dressed in blue jeans and a red jacket, as he poses with a boom box on a sidewalk in Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1980. The boombox features a turntable for lps, in addition a cassette player, and radio tuner; it is a Sharp brand, model VZ-2000. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young couple as they stand in a graffiti-covered subway car and look through the window into the next car, New York, New York, 1980. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young couple (identified only as 'Lawrence and Tee') as they pose with a Yamaha motorcycle on a sidewalk in Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1981. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of four young men as they pose on a crowded street on the Lower Eastside, New York, New York, 1982. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young man (identified only as 'Malik'), dressed in a collarless, red jacket, as he poses, arms crossed, next to a poster that reads 'Reaganism: Black Genocide' on a street in Harlem, New York, New York, 1982. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
View of passengers in a subway car, New York, New York, 1988. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young man (identified only as 'Trev'), dressed in a striped t-shirt and a baseball cap, as he poses on a sidewalk, 1981. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of two young men as they pose in a graffiti-covered subway car (on the number two line), New York, New York, 1980. One of them holds a boom box on his lap. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of three young men pose as they pose, arms crossed across their chests, on a street on the Lower Eeastside, New York, New York, 1982. They stand in front of a poliec barricage and a boom box is on the ground at their feet. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of an unidentified photographer, dressed in green, as he poses with a camera in his hand, New York, New York, 1983. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a group of young men as they pose with a boombox on a subway platform, New York, New York, 1983. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Back view of a father as he balances his son on his shoulders, both with large backpatches on their jackets, on a sidewalk in downtown Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1984. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young man, dressed in red shorts and a blue t-shirt, as he poses with his boombox on a sidewalk in Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1985. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a nattily dressed young man in sidewalk in Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1985. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young man dressed in a red t-shirt and pants, as well as three necklaces, a 'Sheriff' badge, and several large rings, as he poses in a park, New York, New York, mid 1980s. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a trio, two young man and a young woman, as they pose with Yamaha motor bike on a Brooklyn sidewalk, New York, New York, 1985. A boom box is balanced on the back of the bike. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young man, dressed in an Adidas jacket and a Kangol cap, as he poses with his arms crossed on a sidewalk in Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1986. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
A model poses in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City circa 1988. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of a young man in a leather jacket, several large rings, and a New York Yankees cap as he poses in Downtown Brooklyn, New York, New York, 1988. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of an unidentified off-duty law enforcement officer as he poses with his car, a Nissan Pulsar NX, on the Lower Eastside, New York, New York, 1988. He wears a hand gun in a shoulder hoster under his unbottoned denim shirt. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
Portrait of an young couple as they embrace, seated atop a carved tree stump in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, New York, New York, 1988. (Photo by Jamel Shabazz/Getty Images)
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Born and raised in Brooklyn, Jamel Shabazz first took up photography at the age of 15, and went on to create a peerlessly vibrant record of the city in the 1980s.

Drawing inspiration from the works of socially concerned photographers such as Gordon Parks and Leonard Freed, Shabazz roamed the streets and subways of New York, making both candid and effortlessly posed images of the city's diverse denizens, especially black and Hispanic communities.

He shot his photos with one eye on the future, hoping to contribute to the recording of history and culture. While his images brim with a timeless sense of humanity, they are also full of highly specific signifiers of New York in the 1980s, from hulking boomboxes to flashy fashion and jewelry to graffiti-covered subways.

In addition to a successful photographic career with dozens of international solo exhibitions, Shabazz has maintained close ties to his community, volunteering and mentoring children and advocating for youth art education.

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