"Bacalaitos and Fireworks" by Arlene Gottfried

February 17, 2014

While cruising bookstores over the weekend we happened upon Bacalaitos and Fireworks by Brooklyn-born photographer, Arlen Gottfried. Having created multiple bodies of work, this particular series by Gottfried documents the rich Puerto Rican community culture of New York from the 1970s to present day. Candid photos beautifully composed that sensitively capture natural light fills the pages, with an wide cast of characters that exemplify what it means to have style. Gottfried’s work has been printed in several publications including The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, LIFE, and The Independent in London, as well as exhibited at the Leica Gallery in New York and Tokyo and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

New York City has been home to a Puerto Rican population since the mid-1900s, with the most noticeable migration boom beginning in the 1950s. As Puerto Ricans settled in New York over the years they stamped the city with their culture, indelibly altering neighborhoods like the South Bronx, the Lower East Side, Williamsburg, and downtown Brooklyn with rhythm, style, flavor, art, language, and claro, Latino cuisine.

Arlene Gottfried, herself a native New Yorker, grew up side-by-side with the burgeoning Puerto Rican community, never straying far from its influence whether living in Brooklyn or the LES. In the heart of the barrio, Gottfried began shooting pictures inspired by her bohemian friends and using them as subjects—in apartments, on the streets, and in the park, in times of radiant joy and heart-breaking sorrow.

See more work from Arlene Gottfried here and check the book here