Photo: Hans Glave

Writer, Photographer, Documentarian, New York

Berlin Prize Fellow - Class of Spring 2010


Camilo Vergara is a Chilean-born photographer, writer, and documentarian who lives and works in New York City. Since 1977 he has been documenting changes in the urban landscape, focusing on American slums and decaying urban environments, along the way becoming an “archivist of decline,” a documentarian of walls, buildings, and entire city blocks. His work is noted for picturing the same buildings and neighborhoods multiple times over many years, and in so doing recording the changing nature of the city itself. Vergara’s photographs tell how the American inner city evolved and what it gained and lost in the process. He has published several books, including American Ruins (Monacelli, 1999), The Twin Towers Remembered (Princeton Architectural Press, 2001), and How the Other Half Worships (Rutgers University Press, 2005), His book The American Ghetto (Rutgers University Press, 1997) won the Robert E. Park Award of the American Sociological Association. In 2002 Vergara was awarded a “genius” award by the MacArthur Foundation. His work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at, among others, the National Building Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. Vergara also served as a fellow of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers University.