Photo Essays

Edmund V. Gillon’s Vision of 1970s and ’80s New York

by Jillian Steinhauer on January 15, 2014

[Donald Judd House and Museum, 101 Spring Street.] (c. 1974), polyester negative, 4 x 5 in (all images collections.mcny.org)

Edmund V. Gillon, [Donald Judd House and Museum, 101 Spring Street.] (c. 1974), polyester negative, 4 x 5 in (all images collections.mcny.org)

Sometimes it seems like troves of old photos of New York City turn up online every other day. But we still ogle them because … well, what can we say? We heart old NYC porn. The latest is this collection at the website of the Museum of the City of New York of some 1,200 photographs by Edmund V. Gillon, whom the museum says is best known for the books he wrote about New York City, particularly its architecture. His pictures are largely architectural, too, “portraying the city’s historic districts, landmarks, architectural ornamentation, and civic sculpture,” according to the website.

Working mostly in the 1970s and ’80s, Gillon captured monuments, public art, art institutions, and hundreds of buildings (and the details on them) in black and white. For the most part, the photos are spare and simple; every so often, a striking shot with a clear artistic flourish comes along. Gillon seems to have taken great pleasure in documenting the city’s changing face, as so many of us still do. Here’s a small sample of his work.

Edmund V. Gillon, ["Le Guichet" ("The Box Office") stabile, "Reclining Figure" in the background.] (c. 1976), gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 in

Edmund V. Gillon, ["Le Guichet" ("The Box Office") stabile, "Reclining Figure" in the background.] (c. 1976), gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 in

Edmund V. Gillon ["Chinatown Today" mural by Alan Okada on Pike Street.] (c. 1978), polyester negative, 4 x 5 in

Edmund V. Gillon ["Chinatown Today" mural by Alan Okada on Pike Street.] (c. 1978), polyester negative, 4 x 5 in

Edmund V. Gillon, [172-176 Norfolk Street.] (c. 1979), polyester negative, 5 x 4 in. Originally Congregation Anshe Chesed, onetime Ohab Zedek, later Anshe Slonim, eventually the Angel Orensanz Foundation

Edmund V. Gillon, [172-176 Norfolk Street.] (c. 1979), polyester negative, 5 x 4 in. Originally Congregation Anshe Chesed, onetime Ohab Zedek, later Anshe Slonim, eventually the Angel Orensanz Foundation

Edmund V. Gillon, [Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.] (c. 1976), gelatin silver print, 8 1/8 x 8 in

Edmund V. Gillon, [Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.] (c. 1976), gelatin silver print, 8 1/8 x 8 in

Edmund V. Gillon [Westbeth Center for the Arts, 155 Bank Street.] (c. 1977), gelatin silver print, 7 1/2 x 7 1/4 in

Edmund V. Gillon [Westbeth Center for the Arts, 155 Bank Street.] (c. 1977), gelatin silver print,
7 1/2 x 7 1/4 in

Edmund V. Gillon, [MoMA.] (1976), gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in

Edmund V. Gillon, [MoMA.] (1976), gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in

Edmund V. Gillon [Entrance detail on the Pythian Temple.] (1970–2000), gelatin silver print. 7 x 7 1/4 in

Edmund V. Gillon [Entrance detail on the Pythian Temple.] (1970–2000), gelatin silver print. 7 x 7 1/4 in

Edmund V. Gillon, [Lyceum Theater, 149-157 West 45th Street.] (1976–77), gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in

Edmund V. Gillon, [Lyceum Theater, 149-157 West 45th Street.] (1976–77), gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in

Edmund V. Gillon, [Looking northeast from the base of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.] (c. 1977), polyester negative, 5 x 4 in

Edmund V. Gillon, [Looking northeast from the base of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.] (c. 1977), polyester negative, 5 x 4 in

h/t Gothamist

  • Subscribe to the Hyperallergic newsletter!

Hyperallergic welcomes comments and a lively discussion, but comments are moderated after being posted. For more details please read our comment policy.

Previous post:

Next post: