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ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue58 (December 2017)

Mildly Disturbing Images of Gang Life in Early 2000's Brooklyn, New York























The career of the photographer known as Boogie is as diverse as it comes. He's known for shooting athletes like Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt and soccer star Mario Balotelli for high-profile companies like Puma and Nike—but he's also published six monographs that focus on the harrowing street culture of cities such as São Paulo and Belgrade.

Boogie was born and raised in Belgrade, and grew up around cameras; his father and grandfather were both amateur photographers. He didn't take an interest in the art until his country descended into war-torn chaos in the 90s. At the time, photography helped him to distance himself from the living hell around him. Boogie credits witnessing the turmoil in Serbia as the catalyst that defined the subject matter he'd continue exploring throughout his career, which gained steamed once he started shooting in Brooklyn.

In 1998, Boogie won the green card lottery and moved to New York. He worked all kinds of odd jobs to survive, while still shooting on the side. Through a chance encounter, some gang members in Bed-Stuy asked him to take photos of them holding guns, leading him down a rabbit hole into the underbelly of some of New York's roughest neighborhoods. It's All Good, his first monograph, published in 2006, was the result. The book features photos of members of the Latin Kings and other gangs, as well as drug dealers, drug users, and marginalized people stuck in destitution. But unlike the average street photographer who snaps away without getting to know his or her subjects, Boogie is a documentarian who actively enters the lives of the people he shoots, building trust and gaining access to their homes, their safe houses, their squats.

"People always say you shouldn't cross certain lines, but the deeper you go the better shots you take, and no one can tell you where those lines are," he told us. "Then, all of sudden, you're in the middle of madness and it becomes very interesting."

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