In January 1974, David Godlis, then a 22-year-old photo student, took a ten-day trip to Miami Beach, Florida. Excited to visit an area he had frequented a decade earlier as a kid, Godlis set his sights on an area of art deco hotels, a Jewish retiree enclave on the expansive beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean. These retirees, all dressed up in their best beach outfits, would spend their days on lounges and lawn chairs, playing cards amid the sunshine and palm trees.
Publisher: Reel Art Press 2021
Headerphoto: Insulin Lady, Collins Avenue © GODLIS
In January 1974, when I shot these pictures, I was in Miami Beach for about ten days. I was visiting with my grandmother, who lived near Ocean Drive. I shot about sixty rolls of film. I don’t remember any more if I was really there to visit with my grandmother, or to take pictures of Miami Beach. But I think now it was the latter.
For a kid visiting in the 1950s and early 1960s, it was like going to Jewish Disneyland. Goodbye snow. Hello coconuts. And so, when I returned to Miami Beach in 1974, with a camera, all these memories of Florida came flowing back to me. As I tripped the shutter over and over, taking pictures on those beaches I had walked upon as a little kid, everything clicked. Pun intended.
Book Specs: Godlis Miami by David Godlis published by Reel Art Press November 2021 | ISBN: 9781909526846 | Hardback | 128 pages with 100 b/w photographs | 245 x 200 mm || £29.95 / $39.99 / €33.12. Available here.
David Godlis (born 1951 in New York City), is one of the most seasoned and important street photographers of his generation. The veteran artist picked up his first camera in 1970, becoming enamored with the street work of Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander, amongst others.
Godlis is most famous for his photographs of New York City’s punk scene in the mid-1970s, taken in the natural light of the Bowery with long handheld exposures outside the club CBGB. It was this technique that secured now-iconic grainy black and white photographs of 1970s punk bands including The Ramones, Television, Richard Hell, and Blondie, documented in his first book, History Is Made At Night.
His book Godlis Streets documents his best street photography from the 1970s and ’80s in a succinct celebration of New York’s and Boston’s past.