Peripheries: NJ Urban Streets
Compared to the rapidly suburbanizing “garden” landscapes of New Jersey, the northeastern region of the state was blacker, poorer, and on the verge of social rebellion at the time of Segal’s photographic excursions in the 1960s and 1970s. The fallout of suburbanization and racial segregation come into sharp relief within the frames of Segal’s prints and contact sheets. Black bodies appear small in scale, cast against an overwhelming backdrop of the crumbling buildings and freeways that commuters viewed solely from car windows. These rare photographs capture poverty as paradoxically remote yet near at hand, reflecting the troubling undercurrents of everyday life that informed the artist’s work throughout his career.