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Hoboken Passing: The Hoboken Originals

Hoboken Originals explores the survivors of a neighborhood in transition. Through the eyes of the old establishment family business owners and workers, I aim to better understand what defines a neighborhoods identity or uniqueness.

With these portraits I aim to reflect and celebrate a community's distinct character. Hoboken, New Jersey charmed me when I first moved here in the winter of 2007. Sitting in the shadow of Manhattan, Hoboken is only a mile square and has a long and proud history. I grew particularly fond of the old Mom & Pop shops that I encountered. Many of these establishments have existed for generations and within their walls I found a place suspended in time.

Hoboken’s older family businesses are succumbing to the changing economy and are closing their doors. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy pushed some to the brink of closing. Happily, there are still some old businesses that remain.

As an portrait artist, my method of working consists of walking the streets, camera in hand, and visiting. Conversation and quiet observation are the foundation of my creative process. Respect and mutual trust between myself and the subject are vital for this series. It was important that the personality of the subject directed the sitting and that the subject and environment combined to tell the story together.

A recurring theme of my photography is the effort to record what is vanishing from our collective memory - a way of living, a tradition, or trade. I try to capture the fleeting present so that we can honor that which is deeply rooted in our past.

-John Delaney