I came across the work of historian-turned-photographer Max Kozloff when I saw one of his photos on someone’s Pinterest (I think it was Erin Considine’s, which—unsurprisingly—is good). The photo was just of some old curtains, but something about the colors drew me in, as did the haziness and a certain nostalgic quality about it.
The rest of the photos in New York Means Business, the series the image came from, have that same quality. According to his exhibition’s press release, Kozloff used to wander around lower Manhattan in the late ’70s and early ’80s, taking photos of storefronts and small businesses in decline:
Wandering Manhattan’s streets, one could find many similar windows, loaded with toys and old clothes, drapes, zippers, or twines. They represented holdouts for small trades swamped along newly gentrified and corporate avenues. “New York Means Business” is a pertinent title for this body of early work, involved with consumerism, but also a sardonic take because the retail described was in bad straits. What at first looked like inconsequent still lives had changed into little theaters of disused or cast off wares, begging for an afterlife. I wanted to do justice to them by means of color, which for me is tenderness . . .