Loisaida Street Work 1984 to 1990

Tria Giovan

1984 - 1990

Title: Loisaida Street Work 1984 to 1990

Medium: Archival pigments prints from 6 x 9 cm, 645 cm and 35mm negatives

In 1984, I moved to a tenement building on Clinton Street, joining generations of immigrants who came to the neighborhood upon arrival to New York City. In the 1980s, the Lower East Side, also known as Loisaida, was as gritty, authentic and humble as it was exotic, vibrant and colorful. I was a young photographer, and I was an explorer. As I wandered the streets, I photographed my environs as if living in a foreign land. The melding cultures, history, and humanity I encountered inspired these photographs.

I left the neighborhood and the work behind in 1990 to begin a six-years project photographing in Cuba. From the 25,000 photographs taken during that time, Cuba The Elusive Island was published by Harry N Abrams, NY in 1996, and The Cuba Archive 1990-1996, was published in 2017 by Damiani Editore, Italy. The Lower East Side work was put aside for Cuba and subsequent projects and the negatives languished in boxes for over thirty years. A delve into my archives during the pandemic found a trove of neglected imagery now resurrected through editing and scanning.

Considering this work through a prism of history, I see myself as a young photographer, honing my craft, and responding spontaneously to color, light, intimate gestures and the rhythms of life on the streets. I see a time capsule from the 1980s Lower East Side that has been radically altered through waves of gentrification. It is a new body of work now alive at the intersections of my interactions and observations, and the viewers’ responses and interpretations. Universally, the images speak to the human condition, reflecting what is eternal and what is intrinsically New York City – vibrancy, diversity, co-existence, and eccentricity.

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  • Fire Escape Viewing on Stanton Street-1990. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Barreto's on Stanton Street-1987. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • 29 Clinton Street View-1989. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Hole in the Wall on Suffolk Street-1990. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Car Repair on Stanton Street-1987. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Mendel's Unger's and George's on Delancey Street-1987. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Norman Cohen's on Stanton Street-1990. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • H.Eckstein & Sons on Orchard Street-1986. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Foam Store on Allen Street-1984. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Shopping on Orchard Street-1985. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Pink on Forsyth Street-1986. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Reaching Hand on East Houston Street-1988. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Fifty Cents on Delancey-1985. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Wrestling Match on Clinton Street-1990. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Yellow on East Houston Street-1988. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Undergarments on Orchard Street-1985. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Stop Light on Delancey Street-1988. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Parking Lot on East Houston Street-1985. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Vasmay Lounge on Suffolk Street-1989. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.

  • Children on Clinton Street-1986. From the series Loisaida Street Work-1984 to 1990.


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