Susan Meiselas, Prince Street Girls

by Xavier Encinas

How Susan Meiselas’s home neighborhood produced one of her most influential bodies of work – a study of adolescence, femininity and the gentrification of New York.

 

In 1974, between the Carnival Strippers years and Nicaragua, June 1978 – July 1979, Susan Meiselas moved to Mott Street, on the outskirts of a neighborhood in downtown Manhattan, known as ‘Little Italy’ because of its largely immigrant Italian population. Meiselas was an outsider in the neighborhood, but a chance encounter soon changed that, forming the beginnings of a long-term photographic series about youth and femininity in the 1970s. Cycling home one day, she recalls “a blast of light flashed into my eyes. Its source was a group of kids standing with a mirror, focusing the sun on my face, nearly blinding me. That was the day I met the Prince Street Girls.”

All images © Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos.

"I was fascinated by their relationships with each other. They simply liked to hang out together."

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