Legendary New York-based fashion, documentary and street photographer Jamel Shabazz has been scanning the scenes of New York City for about 40 years now, reflecting its lifestyles, moods, fashions, and social struggles. Jamel Shabazz's work goes far beyond photography, it is pure sociological documentation which has immortalized decades of New York City’s culture. 

In the early ’80s, Shabazz borrowed his mother's inexpensive point and shoot camera, and with just the basic knowledge of the craft he learned from his professional photographer father, started his photographic journey beginning with close friends and schoolmates. He ended up making the Big Apple his set, telling honest and uncovered stories through authentic images.

What better way to capture the city’s vibrancy and diversity than going where nationalities, cultures, and personalities meet, the city’s lifeline – the metro. "The overwhelming majority of subjects I photographed have been complete strangers who I would meet during my many expeditions on the train. I focused my lens on everything from students, police officers, the homeless, entertainers, and everyday people going about their business of the day,” Jamel Shabazz told Bored Panda

In celebration of his work, the Galerie Bene Taschen in Cologne (Germany) will be hosting his work 'City Metro, an exploration of New York City’s transit system through the eyes of Shabazz' until February 2, 2019. The exhibition contains 30 photographs that portray his incredible talent to integrate himself into urban life and capture its unfiltered spirit.

"What I like most about the photo shoots, is meeting new friends and freezing historic and meaningful moments in time. So many of the people I photographed 30-40 years ago may have initially been unfamiliar to me, but as time would pass many of them became close friends, some even became love interests,“ said Shabazz.

More info: jamelshabazz.com | Instagram

#1 All Ears, NYC 1980

All Ears, NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

Wynand 2 months ago

You lookin' at?!

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#2 The Trio, NYC 1980

The Trio, NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

Wynand 2 months ago

Colour coordinated and awesome, matching Puma's. So cool!

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#3 Rush Hour, NYC 1988

Rush Hour, NYC 1988

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Wynand 2 months ago

Such pretty, happy smiles. Even while cramped-up on a busy train during rush hour. Lovely! ❤

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#4 Fly Girl, NYC 2002

Fly Girl, NYC 2002

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Kelly Horrigan 2 months ago

not a stitch of black or denim clothing! She is awesome

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#5 A Frozen Moment, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC

A Frozen Moment, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC

jamelshabazz Report

Laugh Fan 2 months ago

She is beautiful.

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#6 Soros For Life, Crown Heigths, Brooklyn, NYC 1981

Soros For Life, Crown Heigths, Brooklyn, NYC 1981

Jamel Shabazz Report

Wynand 2 months ago

I love their matching outfits ❤

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#7 Twin 1 & Twin 2, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Twin 1 & Twin 2, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

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Wynand 2 months ago

Digging those razor partings.

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#8 A Time Before Starbucks, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 1980’s

A Time Before Starbucks, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 1980’s

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SupriyaG 2 months ago

They were extremely good at fashion, i must say!

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#9 Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

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Chyppa Homer 2 months ago

Why is he collecting infinity stones ?

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#10 Back To The World, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

Back To The World, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

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Derek Bryan 2 months ago

He looks to be a veteran returning from boot camp

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#11 Untitled, Spanish Harlem, NYC 1980

Untitled, Spanish Harlem, NYC 1980

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Ms.Maria 2 months ago

Those DMC glasses! YASSS

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#12 The Love Connection, NYC 1982

The Love Connection, NYC 1982

Jamel Shabazz Report

diane a 2 months ago

Come on Eileen

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#13 The Violists, NYC 1997

The Violists, NYC 1997

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Kathy Baylis 2 months ago

Don't you mean violinists?

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#14 The Last Look, NYC 1980

The Last Look, NYC 1980

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Luis Milian 2 months ago

she has a nice smile!

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#15 Daddy‘S Little Girls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Daddy‘S Little Girls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

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Hope Floats 2 months ago

These two little girls will be approaching their 50th birthday now... I wonder how their life mapped out and if they remember this day out with their Dad?

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#16 The Dream Girls, Brooklyn Bound J Train, NYC 2000

The Dream Girls, Brooklyn Bound J Train, NYC 2000

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SupriyaG 2 months ago

For me, they are Charlie's Angels. so beautiful <3

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#17 Church Ladies, Harlem,NYC 1997

Church Ladies, Harlem,NYC 1997

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tuzdayschild 2 months ago

This looks more like the 1950's than the 1980's. Loving them church hats.

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#18 The Righteous Brothers, NYC 1981

The Righteous Brothers, NYC 1981

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Full Name 2 months ago

Guaranteed these two had at least one coordinated breakdance routine on lock.

#19 The Outside View, Brooklyn, NYC 1999

The Outside View, Brooklyn, NYC 1999

Jamel Shabazz Report

Wynand 2 months ago

This photo looks a lot older than 1999. They (and the guy standing inside) must have been going to a costume party.

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#20 Empathy, NYC 1980

Empathy, NYC 1980

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Deanna Banana 2 months ago

Lora Holt, you’re a good person. Thank you.

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#21 Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn,NYC 1980

Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn,NYC 1980

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Luis Milian 2 months ago

that guy on the bottom left probably has a cassette player! who remembers?

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#22 Mother And Daughters, NYC 1997

Mother And Daughters, NYC 1997

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Glenna Wheatley 2 months ago

I love the way they're holding hands.

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#23 Secret Lovers, NYC 1997

Secret Lovers, NYC 1997

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Michelle Pitsiokos 2 months ago

I love pictures of couples like this when they don't know their picture is being taken. It's so real and you can almost feel the electricity between them.

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#24 Young Girl, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Young Girl, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

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Meeow 2 months ago

Who cares on the bus or train, the matter was capture the beauty of that smile!

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#25 On The Uptown D Train, Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

On The Uptown D Train, Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

Jamel Shabazz Report

Luis Milian 2 months ago

loved those Adidas, best shoes.

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#26 Holding On, F Train, NYC, Mid 1980’s

Holding On, F Train, NYC, Mid 1980’s

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Helen Cole 2 months ago

Karate Kid commutes to lessons without parental protection.

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#27 The Fox & The Wolf, Manhattan Bound F Train, NYC, Early 2000’s

The Fox & The Wolf, Manhattan Bound F Train, NYC, Early 2000’s

jamelshabazz Report

Kelly Horrigan 2 months ago

She is the BOMB!

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#28 Sugar & Spice, NYC

Sugar & Spice, NYC

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SupriyaG 2 months ago

...and everything nice that's what girls are made of!

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#29 Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

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CristianT 2 months ago

Also a bus!

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#30 Rush Hour On The Brooklyn Bound J Train, Mid 1990’s

Rush Hour On The Brooklyn Bound J Train, Mid 1990’s

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Ms.Maria 2 months ago

Her hair is so COOL

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#31 If It Concerns You, Brooklyn NYC 1980

If It Concerns You, Brooklyn NYC 1980

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Wynand 2 months ago

Signs of the times.

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#32 City Life, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

City Life, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

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Kathy Baylis 2 months ago

Holy crap, a K Car?

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#33 The Observer, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

The Observer, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

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Kelly Horrigan 2 months ago

"You want My Picture? OK."

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#34 The Wisdom Bodies, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 1980’s

The Wisdom Bodies, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 1980’s

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Kelly Horrigan 2 months ago

Their smiles are so innocent :)

#35 Representing, Hempstead, NYC 2000

Representing, Hempstead, NYC 2000

Jamel Shabazz Report

Rowlie 2 months ago

I have never been to New York or US and I don't remember mich of the 80's but somehow these photos make me feel nostalgic

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#36 Opposites Attract, NYC, 1990’s

Opposites Attract, NYC, 1990’s

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Ryo Bakura 2 months ago

"A rabbi and a skater kid get onto the same subway carriage..."

#37 Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

jamelshabazz Report

SupriyaG 2 months ago

Leather was in trend!

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#38 A Frozen In Time, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 1980’s

A Frozen In Time, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 1980’s

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Brie Sansotta 2 months ago

There were all kinds of things on the subway in the 80's. I was on the train when a heavy guy in a pink tutu and tights danced his way down the train for $

#39 Daddy‘S Little Girls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Daddy‘S Little Girls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

Enuya 2 months ago

I believe there is something messed up with the captions?

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#40 Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

Nikki D 2 months ago

Leather clothes are so uncomfortable, I'm squirming!

#41 The Corner, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

The Corner, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

Jamel Shabazz Report

Ms.Maria 2 months ago

At first glance, I thought the guy on the right was flipping a sly bird

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#42 The Brooklyn Connection, The Franklin Ave Train Station, Nyc 1980

The Brooklyn Connection, The Franklin Ave Train Station, Nyc 1980

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#43 Old School Love, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 80’s

Old School Love, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 80’s

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Sue Prewitt 2 months ago

wonder if they are still together

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#44 The Outside View, Brooklyn, NYC 1999

The Outside View, Brooklyn, NYC 1999

Jamel Shabazz Report

#45 Daddy‘S Little Girls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Daddy‘S Little Girls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

Mark's Rules 2 months ago

The photos in the necklaces. His "little girls". Tap the photo and it will open full screen. Easier to see.

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#46 Caught In Between, NYC 2000

Caught In Between, NYC 2000

jamelshabazz Report

Jeff Le Cardiet 2 months ago

nice vintage style!

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