1960s New York Street Life: James Jowers’ Snapshots of ‘Disorder and Imperfection’

"I am a passionate lover of the snapshot, because of all photographic images, it comes closest to the truth"

Walking in the rain – photo by James Jowers, 1967.

In the 1960s James Jowers left the US Army and studied photography at the New School for Social Research under Lisette Model.

Model summed up her attitude to photography:

“I am a passionate lover of the snapshot, because of all photographic images, it comes closest to the truth … the snapshooter[‘s] pictures have an apparent disorder and imperfection which is exactly their appeal and their style.”

Guided by such a vision, Jowers found work as a night porter at New York’s St. Luke’s Hospital. The job afforded him free time to observe street life in daylight. He’d wander the area, taking incredible photographs like these of life on the Lower East Side and elsewhere in NYC.

 

1968 East River.

Coney Island diner – photo by James Jowers – 1966

James Jowers 1967 Tompkins Square

Washington Sq Park

St Mark’s Place

 42 st. St. Marks Place Tompkins Sq. Pk. 5th Ave. L. E. side Washington Sq. P. Mulberry st. 42 st. + 8 ave. st. Marks Pl. Tompkins Sq. Park L. E. side 1st Ave B-way [WOMAN SITTING IN STORE] E. 2nd st. Coney Is [NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY] Wall st. 3rd st. + Ave B St. Marks Place Ave C E. 3 st. Tompkins Sq. Park Tompkins Sq. Park

 

 

Spotter: The George Eastman House Collection