Over the weekend I watched this documentary about the artist Clayton Patterson, self-appointed visual historian of the Lower East Side subculture since the early 1980s. He started documenting daily life through photography and picked up video in 1986 when the handheld camcorder came onto the scene.
“Realizing the unlimited potential of video he quickly rode a new wave into a world of politics and activism, employing documentation as a tool to combat corrupt authority, corporate takeover, and eventually gentrification.”
– Rebel with a Lens in The Brooklyn Rail
He amassed over 100,000 photographs and over 10,000 hours of video, mostly famously his footage of the police brutality in the Tompkins Square Park riots. In a New York Times multimedia feature, Patterson describes some of his photos and the now-gone scene.