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August 26, 2021

Street Styles of 1980s New Yorkers Taken by Amy Arbus

American photographer Amy Arbus has been creating photographic portraits since the 1980s. She has published five books, including The Inconvenience of Being Born, After Images, and The Fourth Wall which The New Yorker called her “masterpiece.” Her photographs have been featured in hundreds of periodicals, including French Vogue, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair.

Street styles of the 1980s New Yorkers taken by Amy Arbus

As a native New Yorker, Amy is best known for her style feature, “On the Street,” which appeared in The Village Voice from 1980-1990. Her mission was to seek out the trendsetters that fashion designers would look to for inspiration. Her camera was a ticket into their world, and many of her subjects went on to become famous musicians, designers, and artists. The series was a chronicle of a seminal time in New York City’s history and was later turned into the book, On the Street 1980-1990.

Arbus has taught The Narrative Portrait at the International Center of Photography, Anderson Ranch, Fine Arts Work Center, and NORD Photography in Norway. American Photo selected her workshop as a Top Workshop for 2008.

In 2019, Arbus collaborated with painter and sculptor Martha Posner to create a #MeToo project. These amazing photos are part of her work that Amy Arbus took portraits of New Yorkers in the 1980s.

The Clash, 1981

Diaper Family, 1981

Katy K and John Sex, 1981

Lesbian Couple, 1981

Moroccan Pants, 1981

Cooper Union, 1982

Jenny Gift-Wrapped, 1982

Joey Arias at Fiorucci, 1982

Moccasins, 1982

Rasta Hair, circa 1982

Allah Brothers, 1983

British Flag Skirt, 1983

Elke Koska, 1983

Madonna, 1983

Messrs., 1983

Pebils, 1983

Suspenders and Socks, 1983

Sweatbands, 1983

Hat and Men’s Tie, 1984

Rasta School Boy, 1984

Julio Q, 1985

Black and White Dress, 1987

Flip Family, 1987

Phoebe Lègére Fur Bikini, 1987

Phoebe Lègére with Accordion, 1987

Tits Suit, 1987

Fingernail Extensions, 1988

Twins with Zero T-Shirts, 1988

Two Guys with Sunglasses, 1988

Key Dress, 1989

(Photo © Amy Arbus)


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