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 street photography, it is pure sociological documentation that 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 photography art, 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 stunning pictures.

What better way to capture the city’s vibrancy and diversity than going where nationalities, cultures, and personalities meet, the city’s lifeline – the NYC subway. "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 about his historical photos.

In celebration of his work, the Galerie Bene Taschen in Cologne (Germany) will be hosting his famous photos '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 photoshoots, 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

#2

The Trio, NYC 1980

The Trio, NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

Wynand
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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#3

Rush Hour, NYC 1988

Rush Hour, NYC 1988

Jamel Shabazz Report

Wynand
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

Jamel Shabazz Report

Kelly Horrigan
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#6

Soros For Life, Crown Heigths, Brooklyn, NYC 1981

Soros For Life, Crown Heigths, Brooklyn, NYC 1981

Jamel Shabazz Report

Wynand
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love their matching outfits ❤

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#7

Twin 1 & Twin 2, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Twin 1 & Twin 2, Brooklyn, NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

#8

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

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

jamelshabazz Report

SupriyaG
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

Jamel Shabazz Report

#10

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

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

Jamel Shabazz Report

Derek Bryan
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

Jamel Shabazz Report

#12

The Love Connection, NYC 1982

The Love Connection, NYC 1982

Jamel Shabazz Report

#13

The Violists, NYC 1997

The Violists, NYC 1997

Jamel Shabazz Report

#15

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

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

Jamel Shabazz Report

#16

The Dream Girls, Brooklyn Bound J Train, NYC 2000

The Dream Girls, Brooklyn Bound J Train, NYC 2000

jamelshabazz Report

SupriyaG
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

Jamel Shabazz Report

tuzdayschild
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

Jamel Shabazz Report

Full Name
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

jamelshabazz Report

#21

Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn,NYC 1980

Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn,NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

Luis Milian
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

jamelshabazz Report

#23

Secret Lovers, NYC 1997

Secret Lovers, NYC 1997

Jamel Shabazz Report

Michelle Pitsiokos
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

Jamel Shabazz Report

Meeow
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#26

Holding On, F Train, NYC, Mid 1980’s

Holding On, F Train, NYC, Mid 1980’s

jamelshabazz Report

Helen Cole
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

#28

Sugar & Spice, NYC

Sugar & Spice, NYC

jamelshabazz Report

SupriyaG
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

...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

Jamel Shabazz Report

#30

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

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

jamelshabazz Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#31

If It Concerns You, Brooklyn NYC 1980

If It Concerns You, Brooklyn NYC 1980

Jamel Shabazz Report

#33

The Observer, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

The Observer, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

Jamel Shabazz Report

#34

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

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

jamelshabazz Report

#35

Representing, Hempstead, NYC 2000

Representing, Hempstead, NYC 2000

Jamel Shabazz Report

Rowlie
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

jamelshabazz Report

Ryo Bakura
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"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

#38

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

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

jamelshabazz Report

Brie Sansotta
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Leather clothes are so uncomfortable, I'm squirming!

See Also on Bored Panda
#41

The Corner, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

The Corner, East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NYC 1982

Jamel Shabazz Report

Ms.Maria
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

jamelshabazz Report

#43

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

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

jamelshabazz Report

#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
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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