Hugh Burckhardt, born and raised in New York, started taking pictures at the age of 19. He photographs people, streets, and buildings in New York City. For the past few years, he has been photographing the fast-changing (some would say vanishing) East Village and Lower East Side, for many hours at a time, day in and day out. In the tradition of Weegee and Clayton Patterson, he is accumulating a day-by-day history of the street life of this neighborhood long celebrated for its immigrants and squatters, artists and addicts, punks and homeless prophets. A life-long resident of the neighborhood and the son of artists who have each made their own contributions to the downtown art world, Hugh has, at a young age, found his own distinct calling here. His work is immediate, un-staged, and journalistic, and yet, without imposing an agenda or aesthetic on his subjects, Burckhardt gently brings an artist’s eye to his compositions. The neighborhood may be gentrifying, but in documenting this very process of transformation, even its final throes, Hugh Burckhardt is keeping its spirit alive.
Hugh has toured in Macedonia, Albania, Estonia, Japan, Jordan, Palestine, and other countries with the School Of Hard Knocks as a Stagehand/Performer/Photographer. He publishes a photo blog, devoted primarily to documenting the East Village / Lower East Side.
“I shoot what I shoot, not only because I love doing it, but because it’s part of the documentation process. If you don’t document, it doesn’t exist.” — Hugh Burckhardt