Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Conversations from the Cullman Center: The Changing Face of Harlem: Camilo Vergara and Graciela Mochkofsky



Camilo Vergara and the journalist Graciela Mochkofsky talk about Harlem in light of Vergara’s latest book, Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto, a photographic chronicle of transformations in America’s most famous African-American neighborhood.

Berger Forum

This event is co-presented with the Schomburg Center


Camilo Vergara’s latest book of photography, Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto, chronicles the vibrant life, culture, and transformations of the country’s most celebrated African-American neighborhood. For the past forty-three years Vergara, a writer, photographer, and sociologist, has been  photographing specific streetscapes as they evolve, offering an original, rare, and valuable diary of urban change.

Vergara’s previous books include Silent Cities: The Evolution of the American Cemetery (with Kenneth Jackson), The New American GhettoAmerican Ruins Unexpected Chicagoland (with Timothy Samuelson), Twin Towers Remembered, Subway Memories, and How the Other Half Worships. Vergara has received numerous awards, among them a five-year fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T.MacArthur Foundation in 2002. He was a fellow at the Cullman Center in 2007-2008.

Graciela Mochkofsky, an Argentinian journalist, is the author of six books, including Tío Boris, Un héroe olvidado de la Guerra Civil Española -- a narrative essay on her great uncle who fought in the Spanish Civil War --  and Pecado Original: Clarín, los Kirchner y la lucha por el poder, an investigation of the Kirchner government’s war against the media group Clarín. Her book La Revelación tells the story of a Peruvian Catholic community that converted to ultra-Orthodox Judaism and emigrated to the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. She is currently a fellow at the Cullman Center, where she is working on a book about a wave of emerging Jewish communities in Latin America. In 2010, she and the journalist Gabriel Pasquini founded the online cultural and political magazine El Puercoespin.

Luc Sante, author of Low Life

"Camilo Jose Vergara has watched—and photographed—Harlem as it fell apart and then rose back up as something else. He chronicles the passage from poverty to selective luxury, from segregation to selective integration, from street life to tourism. He asks the unanswerable question: Which is preferable?"

Ben Katchor, author of Hand-Drying in America

"Wandering the streets of Harlem for the past forty years, Camilo Vergara has noticed and miraculously recorded those moments of great human invention that have been largely overlooked by the official chronicles of architecture and urban history. For this reason, his photographs are unique and indispensable."