Stunning Photos of Miami as It Used to Be

From the archives of street photography legend Jill Freedman, who will be appearing at Art Basel this week.

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Nov 30 2016, 9:00pm

Jill Freedman, the 77-year-old street photographer famous for her work documenting cops, firemen, and circus people, will be showing and participating in Art Basel Miami this weekend. Below are some of the photos and memories from the years she spent in Miami, as well as some videos with her we did for the VICE 2016 Photo Issue. At the very bottom, there's a list of the Basel events where you can find her.

Floating, circa 1992-1995.

"I lived down there for ten years. I would go the beach and read. I kinda dropped out of the planet. I spent most of it lying supine. Under an umbrella, reading. It was great. I mean, some of it was depressing. I went there to get away—to turn on, tune in, and drop out. And the guy who rented chairs was my grass dealer and my cat-sitter. Perfect! It was perfect. I took a sabbatical from life. I had been fighting to be able to read since I was ten years old, when the only place you could be left alone was the bathroom. There was a library that got me any book I wanted two blocks away, swimming pools, balmy breezes. No one was there telling me to turn the light out at night. I could read until whenever I wanted."

A young homeless man in South Beach, 1995.

An orca show up north at SeaWorld Orlando circa 1975.

Cheerleaders at a Miami high school, circa 1982.

A naked man dancing unselfconsciously at Miami Beach, 1990.

Here are two videos we did with Freedman for our photo issue:

Below is where she'll be at Art Basel. Many of these events are part of the Miami Street Photography Festival, hosted by the HistoryMiami Museum, which includes street photography greats like Richard Kalvar, Alex Webb, Rebecca Norris-Webb, and Martin Parr. It culminates Sunday in a screening of "Don't Blink - Robert Frank," a portrait of the artist directed by Laura Israel.

Wednesday, November 30

7:30 PM: Opening and release party for Long Stories Short,a retrospective of Freedman's work. The Leica Store Miami, 372 Miracle Mile Coral Gables

Thursday, December 1

3:00 PM: Book signing for Only Human, a collaboration between Freedman, 8-Ball Zines, and Printed Matter that collects 40 years of the photographer's best images. Art Basel Fair, Magazines Exhibitors at Miami Beach Convention Center

7:00 PM: Jill Freedman Artist Talk and AV presentation—"Madhattan." HistoryMiami Museum Auditorium at 101 West Flagler Street

Saturday, December 3

3:30 PM: "A Conversation with an American Original: Jill Freedman" with Maggie Steber. HistoryMiami Museum Auditorium

7–10 PM: Miami Street Photography Festival Awards Ceremony and Closing Party. HistoryMiami Museum Courtyard

Words by Cameron Cuchulainn

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