Before gentrification, New York City was a gritty and inspiring place. And in its midst was Arlene Gottfried, “whose eye for the sublime caught it all,” writes powerHouse Books, the publisher of Sometimes Overwhelming. Recently released, the book is a “manic yet romantic ode to the people of New York City in the 1970s and 80s.” From Coney Island to Riis Beach’s nude bay to the disco nights of sexual abandon and the children in the original Village Halloween parade, Sometimes Overwhelming is a lighthearted look at outrageous people.
Arlene Gottfried, born in Brooklyn, graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and worked as a photographer at an ad agency before freelancing for top publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Life, and The Independent in London. Gottfried has exhibited at the Leica Gallery in New York and in Tokyo, and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., among others. Her photographs can be found in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Berenice Abbott International Competition of Women’s Documentary Photography. Gottfried is the author of Mommie (powerHouse Books, 2015), Bacalaitos & Fireworks (powerHouse Books, 2011), Sometimes Overwhelming (powerHouse Books, 2008), Midnight (powerHouse Books, 2003) and The Eternal Light (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 1999). A lecturer and a teacher, Gottfried lived and worked in New York City. She passed away August 8, 2017.
Wandering New York City with Arlene Gottfried
Arlene Gottfried: “Nuyorican” Retrospective
Obituary: Street Photographer Arlene Gottfried, 66 (for PDN subscribers; login required)