This feature originally appeared in issue #7 of Quint Magazine (July 2011).
“Over half of the ‘mom and pop’ stores in our book, STORE FRONT: The Disappearing Face of New York have closed. When we wrote the introduction to our book in late 2008, only about one third of the stores we had photographed were gone. That is one of the reasons why we felt early on that not only did we have to photograph the stores, but also document their history. After speaking with only a handful of storeowners, we knew we had a compelling story to tell. We discovered that many of the shop owners had fascinating stories to share about the joys and struggles of surviving as a family business in New York City.”
James and Karla Murray are professional photographers and authors who specialize in urban and low-light photography using both lm and digital formats. Their bestselling and critically acclaimed book STORE FRONT: The Disappearing Face of New York as well as their graffiti publications, Broken Windows, Burning New York: Graffiti NYC and Miami Graffiti have set the standard for urban documentation.
James and Karla Murray have lectured extensively on the subject of the plight of New York City’s mom and pop stores at venues including The New York Public Library, The Brooklyn Historical Society, The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and The Lower East Side Tenement Museum. They have also appeared live on prime time NBC – New York Television’s “Around Town” with Cat Greenleaf, on Harry Allen’s program, “Nonfiction” on WBAI-NY, on NHK Television in Japan and were the subject of NHK’s documentary program, “NY Streets”. Their Store Front photography was also the subject of a 6-page article in Rolling Stone-Germany and has appeared in global publications including Saveur, Print Magazine, Stern, Lufthansa, Die Zeit, and Der Spiegel.
Their work has been the subject of exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society and the Brooklyn Historical Society, and is part of the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Historical Society. They are represented by CLIC Gallery in NYC, East Hampton, NY and St. Barthelemy, FWI. James and Karla live in New York City and Miami with their dog Tabasco.