Artist's Statement

Tria Giovan

Archival pigments prints from 6 x 9 cm, 645 cm and 35mm negatives

In the 1980s, the Lower East Side, also known as Loisaida, was as gritty, authentic and humble as it was exotic, vibrant and colorful. In 1984, I moved to a tenement building on Clinton Street, joining generations of immigrants who came to the neighborhood upon arrival to New York City. I photographed my environs as if living in a foreign land. The melding cultures, history, and humanity I encountered inspired these photographs. I left the neighborhood and the work behind in 1990. For the next 30 years, while engaged with long-term projects and editorial assignments this work languished in boxes. A delve into my negatives during the pandemic found a trove of neglected imagery now resurrected through editing and scanning. Considering this work through a prism of history, I see a time capsule from the 1980s Lower East Side that has been radically altered through waves of gentrification. It is a new body of work now alive at the intersections of my interactions, observations, and viewers’ collective memories. Universally, the images speak to the human condition, reflecting what is eternal and what is intrinsically New York City – vibrancy, diversity, co-existence, and eccentricity.