PDN Photo of the Day

On the Streets with Jamel Shabazz and Shawn Theodore

Snap! Space in Orlando, Florida, has brought together the work of artists Jamel Shabazz and Shawn Theodore for the first time.

Acclaimed New York City photographer Jamel Shabazz has spent over four decades chronicling the city’s street fashion. As a documentarian of African-American culture, his mission has been to capture aspects of life ranging from youth culture to various social conditions.

Shawn Theodore, known as xST, is based in Philadelphia and is a multidisciplinary artist working in photography, video, and collage. His work explores concepts of race, spirituality, patriarchy, matriarchy, and class structure within disappearing Black communities and is concerned with the fragmentation of African American and African Diasporan identities. (An image by Theodore appears on the cover of PDN‘s February issue, and in our article on photographers photo editors have found through Instagram, which has been a platform for Theodore’s street photography.)

Theodore was inspired to begin making imagery after meeting Shabazz in Germany. The artists remain close friends.

Co-curators of Shabazz | Theodore, Patrick and Holly Kahn, told PDN they felt showing the artists’ distinct visions of their respective cities alongside each other would create a “beautiful parallel” in the gallery.

With a raw approach, Jamel’s pictures of the streets, “tell the story as it is,” says Mr. Kahn. Theodore engages with street photography in a “more conceptual, painterly manner,” Kahn continues, adding, “he uses elements of the street as an abstract backdrop and carefully ‘paints’ his subject using natural light and shadows to create dramatic, layered, and meaningful imagery.”

The exhibition Shabazz | Theodore is on view through May 12, 2018. Snap! Space is bringing both artists to the gallery for an exclusive dinner on April 27, 2018.

-Sarah Stacke

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Documentary/Photojournalism

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