© Leonard Freed, Behind New York City’s ‘Police Work’
#1: A man dead by drug overdose, 1972
#2: Police try to clear the sidewalk of sleeping drunks on the Bowery, 1978
#3: A policewoman plays games with community children, 1978
#4: The accused and the arresting officer confront each other again, 1978
#5: “Isn’t he cute?” a woman asks of a police officer, 1978
Disappointed with the loss of two photographers to the commercial world, Edward Steichen told Leonard Freed one day that if he ever went professional, his work would lose all interest. “Be a truck driver.”
It was with this amateur, insatiable curiosity that Freed, who joined Magnum Photos in 1970, took an interest in the New York Police Department and the African-American struggle for civil rights. In 1972, to counterbalance the NYPD’s poor public image, the photographer started an investigation into people’s attitude towards the boys in blue. He began by getting to know them better.
Forty years have passed since Freed first began to document these officers. And although his original book, Police Work, published in 1980 and no longer in print, a larger collection of prints from the series is on display at the Museum of the City of New York through March 18, 2012.
(read more here and here)