Remembering the Lost Mom-and-Pop Shops of New York City’s Lower East Side in the ’90s

By
Share:

Starting in the 1990s, artist Zoe Leonard began photographing the shops in New York City’s Lower East Side. As the New York Times reported earlier this week, small neighborhood stores like local bodegas are declining in the city as rents steadily rise and chain stores strong-arm their way in.

Leonard witnessed the start of the decline as mom-and-pop shops — with their hand-lettered signs and strange window displays — started vanishing throughout the decade. She photographed them with something equally obsolete: celluloid film. The artist captured the changing landscape with a vintage 1940’s Rolleiflex camera, using gelatin silver, chromogenic, and dye-transfer printing processes. She didn’t crop the black frame of the negative from the final image, either.

”The embrace of photography as an analog medium is reinforced in the work’s recurrent references to Kodak, photo studios, and graffiti,” the Museum of Modern Art writes. Leonard’s photos from the decade are currently on display at MoMA in the exhibition Zoe Leonard: Analogue , presenting 412 images together in a grid-like installation. “Analogue is a testament to the loss of both locally owned shops and straight photography,” MoMA’s press release states. The show is on display through August 30.

We feature a preview of Zoe Leonard: Analogue in our gallery. Please click each photo to zoom in for a closer look.

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Ten chromogenic color prints and two gelatin silver prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Ten chromogenic color prints and two gelatin silver prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Twelve chromogenic color prints and four gelatin silver prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Forty-six chromogenic color prints and eight gelatin silver prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Six chromogenic color prints and three gelatin silver prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Twelve chromogenic color prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Three chromogenic color prints and one gelatin silver print, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Nine chromogenic color prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Four chromogenic color prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel

Zoe Leonard (American, born 1961)Analogue detail. 1998-2007Forty-six chromogenic color prints and two gelatin silver prints, each 11 x 11″ (27.9 x 27.9 cm)Analogue was made possible through the Artist’s Residency program at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.Acquired through the generosity of the Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, the Fund for the Twenty-First Century, The Modern Women’s Fund, and Carol Appel