‘The Combat Zone’ was the name given to the roughest area in Boston at the end of the 1960s, full of violence, sexual exploitation and racial war.
In 1967, Harvard University commissioned Jerry Berndt to explore this Boston of shadows and vice. Like a war reporter, the young 24-year-old photographer ventured onto the battlefield to get as close as possible to the action: until 1970 (only a few years after the Boston Strangler terrorized the city, with 13 victims), Berndt worked mostly at night to show the poverty, solitude and self-destruction that were destroying the neighborhood.
Berndt’s gaze identifies with the losers in the system and revels in the subtle tensions that reigned between women, men, white, black, aggressors and victims: a raw and hyper-sensitive reportage.
(All rights reserved. Images @ the Estate of Jerry Berndt.)