The Feature Shoot Photography Podcast is back for 2023! In the latest episode, we hear from two different photographers about some of the single images that have followed them throughout their lives and careers. Chris Stein, the co-founder and guitarist of the rock band Blondie, takes us back to New York’s Lower East Side in the 1970s, while the documentary photographer Maggie Steber shares an indelible memory from a funeral in Haiti in the 1980s.
To start this episode of our photography podcast, Chris Stein revisits a photo he captured in 1971-2 from his apartment over Houston Street—right across from the city’s oldest deli, Katz’s Delicatessen. Back at that time, you could still find gas stations in NYC, and food was still cheap. Warhol film superstar Eric Emerson moved in with Stein, who remembers, “We were the only freaks in the building.”
One night, they watched as a man threw a trash can through the plate-glass window of the deli; he entered the deli before leaving with a box full of products. The next thing they knew, the police had turned up, but the man got away around the corner. By the time he sat down for the photography podcast, everything in the photo had transformed over the decades, with old buildings replaced by highrises. One detail remains: that deli.
In 1987, Maggie Steber met a young man in Haiti She watched as he rose in anguish, his mother’s body just laid inside the crypt. It was a historic time for Haiti, as that year brought the first free and democratic elections following three decades of dictatorship.
Two weeks before the election, shootings started in Port-au-Prince; come morning, the bodies remained in the streets. “The Haitians would make us photograph them,” Steber remembers. “The Haitians would grab us and say, ‘You must photograph this […] because every person who died died for democracy, and we want this recorded.'”
On election day in November, people lined up throughout the city to get to the polls. The polling stations were attacked; stations were burned, and people were slaughtered. Hundreds of funerals followed.
At one church, Steber sat next to a family and learned the story of a woman who’d been killed at her home. They told her she could come with them to the burial. At the moment of this photograph, her son let out a last cry as his family and friends held him. Steber stayed behind after they left, and she wept.
We encourage you to spend time with both photographs as you listen to the podcast. The Feature Shoot Podcast will return with another episode next month. The photography podcast is hosted by our founder, Alison Zavos, and sponsored by our friends at MPB, the world’s largest platform for buying, selling, and trading used camera and video gear. Find the Feature Shoot photography podcast on Spotify.