Haunting Black-and-White Photos of ‘Bronx Boys’ Capture the Real New York

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Starting with an assignment for Look Magazine in 1977, photographer Stephen Shames captured the comping-of-age of a group of boys growing up in the Bronx, then one of the grittiest and poorest neighborhoods in the United States. It was a magazine assignment that became a life’s work, because Shames followed this group of young men from 1977 – 2000 through all corners of their lives, navigating poverty and drug addiction in beautifully personal, intimate photos about growing up in New York City.

Shames’ work has been collected in a book, Bronx Boys, which will be released by University of Texas Press in October, and a vintage collection of Bronx Boys prints will be on display at New York’s Steven Kasher Gallery (515 West 26th Street, Floor 2) from November 6 through November 15, 2014, with a book signing and opening reception with Stephen Shames (and some of the Bronx Boys, including Martin Dones and José “Poncho” Muñoz), on Thursday, November 6 from 6-8pm. Check out our exclusive sample of Shames’ photographs below.

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press

Photo Copyright Stephen Shames

Excerpted from the book Bronx Boys by Stephen Shames Published by University of Texas Press