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Carrie Boretz’s Street Scenes: ‘A Second of Humanity in the Midst of the Chaos’

In an age when every New Yorker has a camera in his pocket, there’s something about the captured-in-amber magic of street photography that endures. For Carrie Boretz, whose professional career kicked off in 1975 with a photo internship at the Voice, an iPhone is no substitute for film. “Shooting film is more a visceral, intuitive process and really allows you to feel more a part of the moment you just captured,” says Boretz, whose new book of photography, Street: New York City 70s, 80s, 90s (powerHouse Books), is out this fall. Boretz, who grew up in Long Island, taking day-trips into the city, learned the ropes of street photography under the tutelage of Voice staff photographer Fred McDarrah. “Fred taught me how to stand up for myself out on the streets, how to fight for every nickel and dime I was owed, how to curse and be tough when I had to beHe was the greatest teacher I could have ever had,” says Boretz. “I shot on assignments with him immediately, a portrait of Smokey Robinson the second day out, protests, marches, parades, theater — learning how to navigate, moving about with a camera. After three months, I was on my own.” In the Nineties, Boretz would go on to shoot daily street scenes for the New York Times, braving the elements to document the fleeting, everyday moments that make New York what it is: “people out and about celebrating, getting to where they have to be, living their lives.” For Boretz, a single, evanescent instant captured for eternity was always the goal: “one of those wonderful, unexpected, simple moments that just appear — a second of humanity in the midst of the chaos.”