Downtown street photographer Robert Herman dies at 64

Robert Herman, a street photographer whose work reflected the color and character of this city, was pronounced dead in front of Tribeca Park at 400 Chambers on Friday night. He had jumped from the window of his apartment on the 16th floor, according to police.

Police said he was discovered unconscious and unresponsive on the ground, with injuries indicative of falling from an elevated position. EMS responded to the scene and pronounced him deceased on scene, but the medical examiner’s investigation remains ongoing.

Herman was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island and began shooting on the city streets in the late 1970s while working as a set photographer, he told John Leland in the Lens column of The New York Times in 2013. He also said then that he was diagnosed as bipolar, and was hospitalized several times during his struggles in both manic and depressive states. His work reflected his sense of isolation, making it — and his death, especially at this time — that much more poignant.

Mark Robinow organized an exhibition of Herman’s work a few years back at the The America House, an American cultural institution in Munich. They spent three days together putting up the show, and got to know each other a bit. “He told me that his whole life was always a fight with mental health, which is more than sad, but it did not prevent him from coaching others who had the same or similar problems. He definitely shall be missed.”

The beauty of the work, found in his book “The New Yorkers” and on his website, is in the precision of that particular moment in time. From Leland’s story: “I felt like a very vulnerable person,” he said recently in his studio in Lower Manhattan. “Photography was my intermediary between me and the world. I was trying to find peace wandering the city. After a while you get in a Zen space and the world slows down. And when you’re an outsider, you notice things that other people just walk by.”


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I’m happy to announce an iPhone Street Photography Photo Walk under the auspices of Soho Photo Gallery. Ever wonder how to make great photos with your iPhone? This workshop will show you how to find the light and color to create images from the seemingly mundane. Join street photographer and iPhone photo book author Robert Herman for a photo walk on the streets of Soho. Learn to see small details that are often overlooked and capture the fleeting moments that can become great photos. You’ll surprise yourself at the images you can create and what you can learn in four hours! For More Information and to register click here: #sohophotogallery #iphone #hipstamatic #soho #photoworkshop

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#storefront #reflection #nyc

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6:00 PM #1 train

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  1. May you be at peace and hug my sister Laura.

  2. That breaks my heart- although I did not know him personally, I follow him on IG, and am a big fan of his work. His amazing photos and his personal vision will be sorely missed.

  3. Paul: Robert mentioned Laura to me many times… he cared for her deeply.

  4. Robert was not only a wonderful photographer, but a warm, supportive friend. He is deeply missed.

  5. I met with Robert a few times a month and he was a great and wonderful human being. He will truly be missed by many. May your solu rest in eternal peace.

  6. We just learned this tragic news by chance & we are filled with sorrow. We purchased our first Robert Herman photo after an informal neighborhood exhibit about 30 years ago ,when we lived in Boerum Hill. Through the years we bought more photos & kept in touch as he gained recognition & progressed in his career.
    Our apartment has 6 of Robert’s photos on the walls & his 2 books on our living room table. These will be a lasting reminder of his talent & sensitivity.

  7. I last saw him about 10 years ago at a mutual friends loft. I did not know how wonderful a photographer he became although he was already very talented when I met him in the 80’s through a mutual friend. I am glad he got recognition and I am horrified that he took his life.