In the week following spring break at Syracuse University,
Light Work Gallery
quietly put up their current show, 38 black-and-white images by New York City-based photographer Jeffrey Henson Scales. Titled "That Year of Living," Scales' work is done in the style of "street photography," images he captured on forays through the city's parks, first near his home in Harlem, and then in subways and in mid-town Manhattan around Times Square, where he has worked as a photo editor since 1998 at "The New York Times," and is now in charge of the Sunday "Week in Review" section, the "Book Review" and is co-editor of the annual "Year in Pictures."
Scales did this body of work over the course of 2009 with a digital camera purchased for this project, after treatment for prostate cancer in late 2008 in Toronto. His wife, Meg Henson Scales, had found the Toronto treatment and then demanded he get out and start using the new camera as soon as he was able; she also furnishes an essay about their relationship and collaboration for Light Work's current issue of "Contact Sheet," which serves as exhibition catalogue.
Scales has been a documentary and portrait photographer for over forty years. Born in San Francisco, he got his first camera at age eleven - a Leica - and by age 13 was photographing the Black Panthers for publication; by 1971, when he was 14, he was published in "Time Magazine." Scales' mother was a painter, his father an audio engineer and amateur photographer.
Light Work's Jeff Hoone points out in his catalogue note that cancer has marked several critical turning points in Scales' progress as an artist. For many years Scales worked in the concert music world; in 1979 he was singer Minnie Ripperton's tour manager when she died of cancer, after which he devoted himself full-time to photography. Scales became close friends with photographer Gary Winogrand and after Winogrand died of cancer in 1984 Scales moved to New York City. He and his wife settled in Harlem where they own the photo archive HSP Archive and a multimedia production company. In 2005 he also began teaching at the Tisch School at New York University.