Refinery 29 has got a piece today asking whether street style photography has jumped the shark, and hurray for that. Because as I’ve said before, and will surely repeat, the act of shooting the same handful of editors and bloggers—who at this point get tons of their clothes for free from designers—should not fit anyone’s definition of portraying style as it is created from the ground up.
It got me thinking about Amy Arbus and all of the fantastic work she did in the 80s for her “On The Street” column in the Village Voice. Do any of you remember it? That’s a pre-fame Madonna, of course, caught by Arbus on St. Mark’s place in 1983.
How fantastic is this chick? It’s also just a really beautiful portrait.
This is 80s club queen Suzanne Bartsch. That jacket is tame now, but it seemed totally scandalous at the time.
Looking at her pictures again makes me realize how lucky we are to have somebody who got down for posterity so much of what 80s style, especially 80s East Village style, was all about. Because even just physically (so many of the old buildings and bars and restaurants are gone) that part of town is not the same anymore, which makes it that much easier to forget. Here’s her book of photos from the era, if you’re interested.
Also, this is the Clash and a few friends in 1981.