Southport, United Kingdom: Cafe Royal Books, 2021.
Over his six-decade career the Scottish photographer Douglas Corrance has visited New York City numerous times, often on assignment for travel guidebooks, and has watched it gentrify. “When I first visited in the 1970s, there was still a bohemian ‘artists in lofts’ scene in places like Soho and Greenwich Village, but as the real estate companies got wise, the artists moved elsewhere and the Yuppies moved in,” he recalls.
He captured his most memorable images in the late 1970s and 1980s, putting everyday New Yorkers centre stage. Despite being brusque, many were happy to pose. “I’m a natural-born flanêur and the public spaces and parks of New York are perfect for a people-watcher like me. The NYPD were very accommodating.”
Yoko Ono even sent him a John Lennon drawing to thank him for photographing the popular Strawberry Fields in Central Park. But his experiences were not always so enjoyable. “Much as I love New York, I certainly don’t look at it through rose-coloured spectacles,” he says. “I have experienced its grittier realities and I survived a mugging, although a camera wasn’t quite so lucky.” Nothing could put him off his love of the city. “It’s like that Stevie Wonder lyric: ‘Wow, New York, just like I pictured it. Skyscapers and everything.’”
Café Royal Books (founded 2005) is an independent publisher based in Southport, England. Originally set up as a way to disseminate art, in multiple, affordably, quickly, and internationally while not relying on 'the gallery'. Café Royal Books publishes artist's books and zines as well as a weekly series of photobook/zines. The photographic publications are part of a long ongoing series, generally working with photographers and their archives, to publish work, which usually falls into 1970–2000 UK documentary / reportage.