It’s not always easy to figure out how to preserve a lifetime of talent. The Soho Photographer, D. James Dee, has been working from the redbrick building at 12 Wooster Street since 1981. He’s been working in the New York area since 1974 photographing artwork for galleries and artists – and he’s soon closing up his shop.
Saying goodbye wouldn’t be so painful, if it weren’t for the 250,000 photos, slides and transparencies of artwork that he has in the building. The boxes are a glimpse of New York history from the 1970s to the present. These profiles in history by everyone from Apple to Shapell capture a piece of the city that could be lost. He worked with Soho galleries like Holly Solomon, Paula Cooper, OK Harris and others. He’s had many take a look at his archives including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Getty in Los Angeles and Fales Library at New York University. So far no one has jumped.
As D. James Dee explained, “I just don’t know the right person. It goes in a Dumpster sometime in July if nobody takes it. And I’d hate to see that done, because it has to be useful to somebody.” Time will tell if anyone takes this slice of history.