My images throughout time give glimpses into poverty, segregation, and perseverance in cities throughout America during the past half century. They are part of an evolving historical record, contributing stories of resilience and pride …
Camilo J. Vergara has been photographing low-income, racially segregated neighborhoods in American cities since the 1970s. Earlier this year, the Library of Congress published a guide focusing on Vergara’s photographs that document African American communities, including neighborhoods in Chicago, New York City, and New Jersey as seen below.
Vergara’s work has taken him everywhere people go, from places of worship to city streets to homes.
Vergara’s time lapse photos reveal what has changed — or in some cases hasn’t — over time in a particular location. The collections include nearly a dozen images of Vyse Ave. at East 178th St. in the South Bronx, pictured below, taken years apart. Prints & Photographs Division photo curator Adam Silvia, who assembled the guide, says of the time lapse photos: “They demonstrate Vergara’s longstanding commitment to African American communities in cities across the United States.”
The guide includes many other images, of street art (many honoring African American leaders), of everyday people and reflections of particularly difficult circumstances. More than a thousand images by Vergara are available for viewing online, and the Library continues to collect and make these images available as Vergara continues to add to the historical record in real time.
- View the guide: African American Communities in America’s Cities: Photographs by Camilo J. Vergara
- Read more about Vergara’s time lapse series of photographs.
- Browse images by Camilo J. Vergara in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
- See the rights statement for photographs made by Camilo J. Vergara in the collections of the Library of Congress.