Captured is an incredible portrait of New York’s LES and Clayton Patterson, who has chronicled it through 30 years of tumult and cleanup.
Now screening for free online at SnagFilms, the documentary stills the neighborhood’s third-world years, when the Lower East Side was a laboratory for vice, loco art, and counterculture thought. With his wife Elsa Rensaa, Patterson used the camera (and, later, camcorder) to record the era’s radical spirit and populace, its drag queens, druggies, punks, and young ruffians.
Beside interviews with key figures like former mayor Ed Koch, the film also loops in first-person footage of NYPD brutality during the infamous Tompkins Park riot — perhaps the best illustration of Patterson’s claim that “little brother is watching Big Brother.”
Check out Clayton Patterson: L.E.S. Captured at Alife in New York, read a review of the show in the New York Times, explore Patterson’s multimedia archive, hear him talk about his “Wall of Fame,” homelessness, and street style, and watch the film for free.
Clayton Patterson on Bloomberg’s billions
Credit: All photos from NO!art.