Jamel Shabazz is a legendary street photographer who has been taking photos of the New York Subway for 40 years now. It’s fascinating to see how the lifestyle, fashion and moods have changed since the 80s. It’s so much more than photography, it’s a documentation of society.
These pictures give us a rare glimpse into how society has changed and how the Subway itself has developed. It’s extremely eye-opening and really does show how things can change very quickly…
1.) All Ears, NYC 1980
I love how this picture has perfectly captured one man and his dog. His adorable puppy seems very intrigued by the photographer!
2.) The Trio, NYC 1980
These are probably three of the coolest kids I’ve ever seen. Just look at how coordinated they are! From their t-shirt to their matching Puma’s, these kids are on point!
3.) Rush Hour, NYC 1988
These girls have such pretty and happy smiles, even though they are stuck on a cramped Subway during rush hour. It really shows their optimism!
4.) A Time Before Starbucks, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 1980’s
These two are absolutely killing it with their fashion sense, they look iconic! What an awesome couple, I really do hope that they stayed together.
5.) Soros For Life, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1981
These two are killing it with their matching outfits. I really hope that they did stay best friends for life.
6.) Untitled, Spanish Harlem, NYC 1980
This is just such a cool picture! I love the graffiti in the background that you never see now and the radio! You would never see a duo like this out and about, it’s just such a shock seeing how much society has changed!
7.) Back To The World, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1982
I love the unknown story behind this picture. Where did this guy come from and where is he going? I would love to know his story.
8.) Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980
This is so cool! This kid is probably the most badass kid to ever walk the Earth and he is so punk rock! He would made for the 80s.
9.) The Love Connection, NYC 1982
These two look like they are single-handedly keeping the hippie movement alive and I’m loving it! They look so infatuated with one another, I can just picture them dancing to Come On Eileen.
10.) The Righteous Brothers, NYC 1981
These two look incredibly cool, calm and collected. I also love their outfits, the fashion was definitely on point in the 80s!
11.) Daddy’s Little Girls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NYC 1980
This is such a sweet photo. These girls will be around 50 now and I’m really intrigued to know how their life mapped out. I wonder if they remember this photo being taken?
12.) Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn,NYC 1980
Look at how cool this guy is! I love his purple suit, he looks on point and I imagine his jazz is extra smooth. The guy in the back looks like he is listening to a cassette player and that is SO old school now!
13.) Mother And Daughters, NYC 1997
I love the way these three are holding hands, it’s so sweet! I hope they are still very close as a family is what is important in life.
14.) The Fox & The Wolf, Manhattan Bound F Train, NYC, Early 2000’s
This woman looks so pretty! I love her hair, it’s so awesome. I really wish I could have appreciated the fashion more back in the day!
15.) If It Concerns You, Brooklyn NYC 1980
This really is a sign of the times and it’s quite heartbreaking to see. It’s especially ironic with the poster in the background, quite chilling.
16.) Rush Hour On The Brooklyn Bound J Train, Mid 1990’s
I love how different the people are in this picture! It really shows the diversity of the subway. Also, the woman’s hair in the middle is just awesome.
17.) Tougher Than Leather, Brooklyn, NYC 1980
Leather definitely was on trend in the 80s! These two look like the coolest couple ever and I LOVE their matching leather.
18.) Opposites Attract, NYC, 1990’s
This is such an iconic picture. I love how such different people can end up on a Subway together and sit in such a way!
19.) Old School Love, Brooklyn, NYC, Early 80’s
I wonder if they are still together. These two look so happy and in love! I really hope they built a life together.
20.) The Outside View, Brooklyn, NYC 1999
I love this picture! The divide almost acts as a barrier against their conversation. I really wish we could know what they are talking about! Such an interesting insight into society.
I don’t know about you but I’m SHOCKED at how much society has changed in such a short space of time. It’s eye-opening to see how diverse the Subway has become and I believe that’s a reason to celebrate!