January 6, 2023
GOTHAM MEMORIES: NEW YORK CITY
IN CONVERSATION WITH JEFF ROTHSTEIN
Photography by Jeff Rothstein
Interview by Melanie Meggs
A native Brooklynite and living in Manhattan for many years, Jeff Rothstein has been photographing New York City since the dawn of the 1970s. Wandering the streets with his cameras, Jeff considers himself an urban observer, capturing the city’s environment. A treasure trove of New York nostalgia, each photo is able to make us feel as if we are traveling back in time to a different era. Jeff has the talent to translate what life was through his viewfinder, composing a frame for the viewer so we too feel part of his story. The way he captures his subjects is captivating as he makes mundane commutes look lively and exciting through every photo.
Over the years, Jeff’s photos have appeared in a variety of publications, including Black & White magazine, SHOTS, Street Photographers Notebook special monograph edition, London Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mojo, YES. Yoko Ono exhibition catalog, URBAN Unveils the City And Its Secrets Vol. 7, and Fillmore East: The Venue That Changed Rock Music Forever.
Recent exhibitions include New York Public Library Mulberry St. branch, September-October2022 (solo), Filter Space, Chicago, September-October 2022 (group), Black Box Gallery Online Annex, Portland, Or., September 2022 (group), ImageNation Paris at Galerie Joseph Le Palais, May 2022 (group), Porec Museum, Croatia, August–September 2021 (solo); H.P.F. Christopher, New York City, July 2017 (solo); and Winter, Analog Forever magazine, December 2019 (online group). His project Gotham Memories: New York City Images of the 1970s and 1980s won the Urban Photo Awards 2021 exhibition prize at the Poreč Museum (Croatia). Images from his book were picked as vintage award winners in Black & White magazine’s contests in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Jeff’s photobook, Today’s Special: New York City Images 1969-2006, was published by Coral Press Arts in June 2017, and is in the collections of many university and institutional libraries.
You will still find Jeff out there on the streets shooting his home city almost every day. Shooting the streets of New York now for over 50 years, a glimpse into its past is nonetheless possible in the images Jeff shares with us.
“They are already memories once I press the shutter. These memories are at once mine and ours. Mine because they are what I have witnessed and captured with my camera. But they will be shared by all of us who know or have known the city intimately or casually or even remotely and vicariously. The photos are a record of history through a local eye. Many are evocative of the time and place of bygone eras, imbued with a timeless quality. The images in this portfolio span the years 1969 through 2022.”