Arts Editor: Christopher George
Harold Feinstein may have admired the work of W. Eugene Smith and Henri Cartier-Bresson, but he was not a photographer who would stand back and observe, unnoticed by his subjects. In fact, in nearly every image, Feinstein’s proximity to his subject is clear. It is this physical closeness, an extension of Feinstein’s profound connection to his subjects, that sets his work apart from other street photographers from the same period.
Where his contemporaries – photographers like Diane Arbus, Walker Evans and Garry Winogrand – documented the plight of the human condition without their subjects’ awareness, Feinstein celebrated humanity with his subjects. From the glittering lights of Times Square to the streets of Harlem; from the smoke-filled coffee shops to subway cars; from city stoops to crowded beaches, Feinsteins’ desire to connect with the world around him and share the experiences he saw is evident in every composition.
A renaissance of his remarkable work is currently underway though, as evidenced by the 2019 feature length documentary Last Stop Coney Island: The Life and Photography of Harold Feinstein, which had its world premier at DOCNYC to a sold-out crowd. Thanks to this, the black and white monograph, Harold Feinstein: A Retrospective (Nazraeli Press, 2012), and numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, Feinstein is starting to receive the critical and public attention he richly deserves.
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