Amy Shapiro

I Have a Blog

When I took the photographs for Welcome to New York 1985 – 2005, I had no idea they would be strung together into a story. Hindsight and technology have allowed me to mold these images into one epic tale. This was unimaginable to me back when I was drinking warm Budweiser in a warehouse thirty years ago. Now, with the wisdom of years under my belt, I'm trying to make sense of it all.

I’ve picked up broken glass and hypodermic needles, and swept out abandoned shipping terminals in order to have a place to create art. I've been in a cold warehouse at 4:00am more times than I can remember. Those were the good old days and I made lifelong friendships. New York City was our playground and we were young and fearless. 

I now realize the role I played in the gentrification of certain neighborhoods which are now highly desirable places to live. I've lived on the Lower East Side for 25 years and have witnessed firsthand the transition from junkies and crackheads to restaurant row and art galleries. A few years ago I returned to the Williamsburg waterfront with a few of the artists I had met so long ago to spread our friends ashes. The area is now unrecognizable with high rise buildings and manicured parks. When the security guard told us to stop drinking I stammered at him, "You don't understand, we were here 25 years ago cleaning up this waterfront and now we are here to spread our friends ashes." To his credit he just told us to keep the champagne covered up.

I took most of the photographs in the series, just not the ones with me in them. In 1985 there was no such thing as a selfie stick. When I performed I would hand my camera to someone and ask them take a few pictures. I had an ingrained urge to record my costumes, make up, and unique surroundings.

I would like it thank Carl Saytor for his help in preparing these photographs. Being married to a photographer has affected the trajectory of my creative life and I am grateful. 

Everything cool I do late. I waited until my 40th birthday to get my first tattoo, and now in 2016 I’m starting a blog. This is a blog about the art I see, but for my first entry I wrote about the art I’ve made. As a co-owner of Luxlab I am surrounded by a thoughtful dynamic photo community, so there’s an endless source of juicy material for my upcoming posts. 

Gathering on the Williamsburg waterfront to release the ashes of a friend into the river.