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Magazine

CULTURE | 05.01.2016

Art Dept.: Sepp Werkmeister and his streetsnaps of 1960s New York City

No Fashion Week without street-style photos, the so-called #streetsnaps. Technically perfect shots as those by Billy Cunningham (make sure to see the documentary about the legendary New Yorker!) and Scott Schuman, a.k.a The Sartorialist, or amateurish but no less passionate ones elsewhere in fashion blog networks. A phenomenon of the high-tech and Instagram era, you might think. And would be wrong, because even though way back when they could only dream of our possibilities of transmitting photos with a simple mouse click or swipe, there were of course photographers decades ago who turned their lenses to street fashion.

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One of them is Munich-born Sepp Werkmeister, whose pictures of 1960s New York City were recently on view in the Munich City Museum. He made a name for himself especially as a photographer of jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis, but in between or after their performances he recorded daily life in Harlem, the East Village and around Times Square. Ninety of his photos, taken between 1956 and 1975, have now been published by Hirmer-Verlag in a coffee table book with the title “New York: Sepp Werkmeister”. A good opportunity to rediscover this “street photographer” who is still a model for both established and up-and-coming photographers.

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Photos: Sepp Werkmeister