The People of New York City in the 1960s, as Shot by James Jowers

The People of New York City in the 1960s, as Shot by James Jowers

Shot by James Jowers, these photographs show how New Yorkers lived and looked in the 1960s. As the George Eastman House (owners of Jowers’ photos) let us know, “Jowers, who was born in 1938, began to show interest in photography while serving in the United States Army where he was trained in darkroom procedures. In 1965 he became a student at the New School and studied under Lisette Model, who later became a close friend and mentor. At this time he was living on the Lower East Side and worked as a night porter at St. Luke’s Hospital; leaving him free to explore the City during the day and photograph life as he encountered it on the streets. Model later introduced Jowers to the Nancy Palmer Photo Agency where he was represented for several years.” 

 

A major constant in the work of New York School of photography artists like Jowers, Ruth Orkin, Saul Leiter, Ernst Haas , Ted Croner, Vivian Maier, and Esther Bubley was the emotion they captured on the faces and in the lives of the people living in New York at the time. So much of New York has always been feast or famine, and there’s a good chance that those who inhabit the Great City will at some point experience both. We New Yorkers have a hard time hiding the emotion on our faces, perhaps because, emotional privacy comes at more of a premium than most of us can afford. I don’t know that it’s necessarily different anywhere else in the world, but because New York is such a photographed city, those numerous moments in time have been captured and immortalized.



James Jowers donated the photographs and copyright to George Eastman House in 2007. The majority of the images were shot in New York City in the 1960s and early 1970s, an important and interesting time in US history. The photographs are of the New York City street photography genre. There are some remarkable images in this collection, including portraits of New Yorkers in various settings and anti-war protests in Central Park and elsewhere. There are also approximately 25 photographs of New Orleans in the 1970s. 

 

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