What attracted you to this project and to the work of Jamel Shabazz?

I was around in the street when the photographs were made. I look at these photographs very personally. So even though I may not be from Red Hook, or East Flatbush in Brooklyn, I was around kids that were part of this wave of culture coming out of the 70s. Jamel Shabazz’s vision is very strongly self-identified to his own experience, so there’s very little sense of separation when you see an art form that’s so directly expressing one’s own life.

The first picture I was overwhelmed with was the cover of Back in the Days (above). I just saw that book cover and I completely identified with that image 100%. I lived in Times Square, right where that picture was taken. He’s captured a moment in time where these two young kids are posing rather elegantly, but everything else in the picture is the chaos of 42nd street. And that’s art. And I thought when I saw that cover, “this is an artist that I really want to get to know.” This was right off the bat.