In 1981 Raymond Depardon travelled to New York. The photographer had spent the preceding months in a psychiatric hospital near Trieste, Italy – a stay he describes as having lasted “a little too long”. Depardon had been there to resolve ‘personal confinement issues’ which he attributed to his two years covering the civil war in Chad. Using photography to continue his recovery he made two large projects in New York over 1980-81: Manhattan Out – unobtrusive street photographs of strangers passing by, and ‘Correspondance New-Yorkaise’ – a collection of humorous observational notes on the city which were published in series in the French newspaper, Libération. This photograph – one of his best known of the period – offers a view of the Empire State Building from Manhattan’s East Side and wryly nods to the stark contrasts the city embodied. Economic success on Wall Street had fuelled a speculative real estate boom, but crime and unemployment were still issues many New Yorkers had to contend with on a daily basis. It would be another decade of regeneration before New York began to resemble the city we know it as today.

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