My Manhattan in the Eighties
"The Deuce and the Stroll" NYC, NY

Moving to New York City in 1980 from Phoenix, AZ was a

bit of a cultural shock.  From the squatters and drug dealers in "Alphabet City" to the gay nude sunbathing on the Westside Piers, the contrast between NYC and Phoenix was as dramatic as it was exciting. No where was this amplified more than at the intersection of Forty-Second Street & 8th Avenue. "The Deuce and the Stroll" as it was explained to me by a trans streetwalker.  

The new arcades and old vaudeville theaters turned porn theaters that populated the two streets were now overrun by pimps, hookers, and drug dealers; all on the make.  Porn Palaces popped up in buildings that once housed Duane Reeds and flop house hotels; Three full floors presenting their customers with live sex acts, rotating peep shows, and 24-hour private video booths; 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Men flocked to this area from every part of the City and New Jersey. 

 

Like a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah that you needed tokens to enter, The Deuce and the Stroll was something you to had to see in person to believe and walk it to understand.  It was like dancing on a knife.  

Selected prints from each gallery is available for purchase in my store.  Please take a look.

Forgotten Men

"Portraits From My Travels by Bus"

 One thing I've never heard while riding a bus across America are the words, "We're on our honeymoon."  That's because very few people take the bus for pleasure.  It's 60% because it's affordable, 25% because they're almost always available, and 15% because of the lax security and ease to loose oneself on the road.

The people I've met have chosen riding the bus because they had lost their job and are headed back home, or found out their spouses were cheating on them, or worse beating them, and they needed to get away fast. Some are trying to get somewhere to start all over, others are trying to get away from where they were as fast as they can.  They almost all keep to themselves.

Riding across the USA on Greyhound and Flix bus lines a fabulous way to see America in a way that allows me to meet these "invisible" people get to know them and take their photos.

Selected prints from each gallery is available for purchase in my store.  Please take a look.

"Through These Eyes"

African American Artists Living and Working in Los Angeles" 

Permanent Collection, UCLA African American Library - 1998

Portraits of seven iconic African American artists living and working in Los Angeles. 

 

Samella Lewis

William Pajaud 

Raymond Lark 

Ernie Barnes

Bette Saar

Jerry Pinkney

Mark Greenfield

Selected prints from each gallery is available for purchase in my store.  Please take a look.

Vanishing Highways

"Signs of the American Southwest"

Photographing old neon signs is hardly new. There are several books and websites full of them.  What makes them important are the signs themselves. The one of a kind Motel that only existed where they did, not part of a chain or franchise. The names were elegant, they were witty.  They would sometime inform you about the local region you were passing through just by their name.  All of the signs featured here came from the American Southwest.

 

Many have been long torn down, a handful still survive.  I began my love affair with these old signs over 30 years ago while driving across the country. Pulling over and shooting them as I came upon them; no matter what the weather; in the daylight or at night, always having to shoot at some ridiculous angle - I did my best each time to capture every one in their majesty and elegance.  

Selected prints from each gallery is available for purchase in my store.  Please take a look.

Selections from my self-published book of the same name

By the Side of the Road

"A 30 Year Collection of Roadside Signage"

As stated above, the main focus of this collection are the signs themselves. For over thirty years my thrill comes from discovering them and capturing them.   I have had the pleasure to cross America from East to West five times. 

Most of these signs come from off of highway roads more that off of freeways.  It was he freeways in fact that led to rapid decline of the mom and pop owned roadside motels, diners, gas stations, and bars. The best hotels and fancy restaurants are found downtown. The signs I shoot are mostly found on the outskirts of towns and cities, or on the trucking routes.  

The sign presented here are from my first self-published book, "By the Side of the Road" - they are just a few in my collection.  I have 100s more. I hope you enjoy these. 

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Selections from my self-published book of the same name

Selected prints from each gallery is available for purchase in my store.  Please take a look.

Ghost Dwellings

"Bygone Days and Graceful Decay"

I've always had an affinity for old, broken down homes and buildings long past their time.  The way they slope, the way the walls cave end.  The peeling paint, broken windows, crumbling bricks, caved in ceilings, are so organically poetic.  Eventually they will decay to the point where only the foundation will remain. 

I love imagining the day the original owners first took possession.  Their optimism; their excitement.

I wonder to myself, "What happened, that they had to one day abandon the place?  What changed in their lives?  Was it self-inflicted? Did they fall victim to some tragedy?  A broken marriage? A death? Or did the money just stop coming in?

These can be the hardest subjects for me to find because they usually are in remote areas, obscured by trees and roadside rubbish.  Most people probably don't even notice them. They go by in a meaningless blur. But I find them so compelling.

I hope some of you will too.

Selected prints from each gallery is available for purchase in my store.  Please take a look.

© 2023 by jimi Giannatti Photography