Vivid Color Photos Capture the Cityscapes of New York and Chicago in the 1970s and ’80s

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Chicago-born photographer Wayne Sorce began capturing the people and places of urban landscapes while at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1960s.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s he took large-scale color photos of his hometown and New York, capturing “a formal exactitude, the light, structures, and palette of these cities within a certain era,” according to a press release from the Joseph Bellows Gallery in L.A. where this “Urban Color” series is currently on view.

Not only do the vivid colors help express the spirit of the city at this time, but the way Sorce incorporates people exposes a unique energy in which they serve as “both inhabitants, as well as sculptural forms relating to a larger composed scene.” From Manhattan barbershops and restaurants to the gritty, industrial streets of Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, the photos transport the viewer to a bygone NYC.

Varick Street, New York, 1984.

Halsted Street, Chicago, 1978.

Dave’s Restaurant, New York, 1984.

East Chicago, 1977.

Fort Dearborn Coffee, Chicago, 1977.

Bee Gee’s, New York, 1984.

No Left, Vinegar Hill, 1988.

El Platform, Chicago, 1978.

Vinegar Hill, New York, 1985.

Vinegar Hill, New York, 1985.

L.B. Oil, New York, 1984.

Chock Full o’ Nuts, New York, 1984.

Spiral Fire Escape, Chicago, 1.

Barbers, New York, 1985.

Under the El, Chicago, 1978.

Blankets, New York, 1986.

Greyhound Station, c.1970s.

(Photos © Wayne Sorce, courtesy of the Joseph Bellows Gallery, via 6sqft)

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