Harvey Stein: Briefly Seen – New York Street Photography
“As individuals in New York City, when we become part of the crowd, we lose our individuality if only for a few minutes and become part of the fabric and mosaic of the city. We are the city, we belong and are beholden to the city, our identity is expressed through and of the city. We can say that we are New York.”—Harvey Stein
If you want to get a sense of New York City, where anything can happen if you are in the right place at the right time, looking at Harvey Stein’s 40 year legacy of street photographs is a good place to start. Captured between 1974 and 2014, Stein describes his work as “my response to the rough, raw, charged and even magical energy of New York City street life. I am attracted to the nuances of behavior and body language in public places, characteristic of the ‘walker in the city.’” He uses grain, blur, low-angle flash, skewed perspectives, tight cropping, and wide-angle views, to bring us into the experience. Harvey has just released his third book on New York street life, Briefly Seen New York Street Life, published by Schiffer Publishing, LTD, and includes essays by Marilyn Kushner, the curator of photographs, prints and architecture at the New York Historical Society and Museum, and Tracy Xavia Karner, author, curator, and visual sociologist. Briefly Seen New York Street Life follows Harlem Street Portraits and Coney Island: 40 Years.
Harvey Stein is a professional photographer, teacher, lecturer, author and curator based in New York City. He currently teaches at the International Center of Photography. Stein is a frequent lecturer on photography both in the United States and abroad. He is the Director of Photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery, located in the East Village of Manhattan. He has also been a member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts, New School University, Drew University, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Bridgeport. Stein’s other books are Harlem Street Portraits, Schiffer Publishing (2013), Coney Island 40 Years, Schiffer Publishing, (2011); Movimento: Glimpses of Italian Street Life, Gangemi Editore, Rome (2006); Coney Island, W.W. Norton, Inc. (1998); Artists Observed, Harry Abrams, Inc. (1986); and Parallels: A Look at Twins, E.P. Dutton (1978).
Stein’s photographs and portfolios have been published in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Time, Life, Esquire, American Heritage, Forbes, Smithsonian, and all the major photography magazines. His photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and Europe— 79 one-person and over 160 group shows to date. His photographs are in more than 55 corporate and museum collections, including The George Eastman House, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), the Denver Museum of Art, the Portland (Oregon) Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography.
Walking down a busy street in the heart of New York City surrounded by a sea of people in constant motion is a unique, sometimes daunting experience, depending on whether you are a native New Yorker or a visitor. The walker must merge into a stream of humanity and become one with the crowd whose members forge ahead, engrossed in the daily rituals of getting to work, rushing to a meeting, grabbing lunch, catching a passing parade, or returning home to start the routine over again the next day. The streets of New York City are the great equalizer where for a moment people of all walks of life, ages, and ethnicities walk together as a unifying force before branching off to different destinations, dreams, hopes and objectives.
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