It is with great excitement and with a deep sense of cultural import that DiWulf Publishing House formally announces plans for its next release: Somewhere Below 14th & East: The Lost Photography of Karen O'Sullivan by Ray Parada. As publishers, a book like this comes along once in a lifetime, and we could not be more honored to have the chance to publish what will be a significant addition to the long and vibrant history of New York subculture. Somewhere Below 14th & East is a book that has been in the making for literally decades, and now the time has come for these stunning photographs to be seen by the rest of the world. And now, thanks to the tireless efforts of curator Ray Parada and the generosity of Karen O'Sullivan, we all get to see the world of street culture as Karen saw it. This story has been a long time coming (as has recognition for Karen's brilliance) and now, with loving effort and care between curator, author, and publisher, it can be told. We, as readers, are invited into an intimate space of Karen's visual life and perspective. And the backstory to the creation of this book is almost as compelling as Karen's photographs.
Karen and Ray share a long, storied friendship that goes back to the early '80s NYHC scene. Karen was a fixture at the shows and the hangouts; always with her camera at the ready. But, make no mistake: this is not just another "scene book." While there are many photos of the kids who made up the early NYHC scene, there is a plethora of shots depicting everyday life on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Hip-Hop pioneers, boxers at the earliest stages of their careers, street kids, poets and rockers inhabit the gritty, black and white landscape that Karen captured. This is a book documenting youth culture in all its frenetic, wild, outrageous, and sometimes dangerous glory.
Karen's images are stark, bold, sometimes haunting, and full of youthful exuberance, and many of the images collected for Somewhere Below 14th & East have never been seen before. Ray Parada is the curator of this massive archive of photos that were thought to be lost, and through his insight and guidance he has collected a narrative of the life of some of the wild characters that ran the streets of the LES during a time when it was often dangerous to walk those streets after dark.
Music, of course, is the common denominator in most of this story, but there is so much more to this book. Karen's eye is unrivaled; her sense of timing and perspective is eerily beautiful and savagely poignant.
Elements of New Wave, No Wave, Punk Rock, Hip Hop, and almost every other sub-genre of NYC subculture are represented in Karen's photos, and Ray has spent decades collecting and arranging them with the careful eye of someone who reveres the time and imagery Karen's shots reflect.
We here at DiWulf are ecstatic to have the honor of publishing this one-of-a-kind book and we are very grateful to Ray for deciding to do this with us. What Ray has curated, through the unblinking lens of Karen's perspective, is a cultural lesson in life on the streets during a time of fertile artistic revolution. Hardcore was new and unheard of; Hip-Hop was just beginning to make its impact on the world. The confluence of energies was raw, vital, and fervent. From the underground clubs that gave birth to a new, chaotic, musical movement, to the seedy bars and clubs that provided havens for the addicted and the creative, and down below where mainstream life and the squares were not allowed to infiltrate; Somewhere Below 14th & East traverses the squats and the sewers; the crime and the lunacy that was New York in the '80s.
Somewhere Below 14th & East contains images and anecdotes from the likes of Joe Strummer, Allen Ginsberg, Ian MacKaye, Jack Rabid, Freddy Alva, Harley Flanagan, Jimmy G., The Misfits, and many, many more luminaries of the Punk, Hip-Hop, art, literature, and Hardcore scenes. It features many shots of kids just hanging around, lost and looking for some meaning. It tells a tale, through iconic imagery, of the search for creative outlet; of a meaningful existence in the face of futility. And, most of all, it celebrates the sheer joy of being young.
As the '80s wore on, Karen unfortunately was diagnosed with the devastating disease MS. As a tribute to her strength and light, DiWulf has teamed up with Ray to bring this important cultural document to fruition. A large bulk of the proceeds will go towards helping Karen's medical expenses and care. The life and times Karen captured with her camera are incredibly important and need to be preserved. It is the mission of DiWulf Publishing House to make sure this book, and others like it, are seen and that the DIY culture of life before the Internet is understood by those who did not live through it. We could not be happier to be bringing this book to life.
As with all DiWulf books, look for Somewhere Below 14th & East to be beautifully printed and laid out with gorgeous, glossy paper stock. This will be a VERY limited release and we will be working with Ray's brother; Ernie Parada, to design special prints and limited edition silkscreen covers for individual editions. We are going to make something very special here for those who appreciate the artful construction of media. We here at DiWulf are book lovers first and foremost, and we make the kinds of books we would be proud to display on our own bookshelves. It is with this philosophy which we operate. We only work with projects we are passionate about and we only work with artists and authors who share that same intense passion.
Right now the book is tentatively scheduled for a Spring 2018 release. Keep checking this site, as well as all of our social media platforms to stay updated on the process. As always, we appreciate the support of those like-minded folks who appreciate independent art and literature.
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