Vincent Cianni

(Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1952 - )

Robert and his Watchdogs, Bedford Avenue Tire Shop, Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Gelatin silver print

18 1/2 x 15 1/2 in. (47.0 x 39.4 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of the artist in honor of Barbara Tannenbaum


More Information

Vincent Cianni began photographing rollerbladers in the Latino enclaves of the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1994. Over the next decade, he documented nearly every facet of these young skaters’ lives, illustrating their personal struggles with relationships, family life, and finding trouble-free places to skate, and the broader struggles within their community with drugs, crime, and poverty. Cianni also captured moments of joy and intimacy, in addition to shots of in-line skating, the sport that helped them transcend the daily challenges of inner-city life. The entire series, titled We Skate Hardcore, was collected into a book in 2004. The images were accompanied by handwritten commentary from the skaters and snippets from interviews conducted by the photographer. The resulting portrait is of a remarkably optimistic group of young men and women, climbing precariously out of the safety of adolescence, and doing the best they can to shrug off not only outside preconceptions about who they are and what they are capable of, but also their own doubts, fears and daily temptations.

Black and White
New York
Gelatin Silver