The Jewish Museum will premiere a photo series Friday called “The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League 1936-1951,” a tribute to a group of photographers, most of them recent Jewish immigrants, who set out to document the gorgeous, gritty realities of New York in the early 20th century.
“Brooklyn Bridge” (1938) by Alexander Alland. Alland, a Russia-born Turkish immigrant, saw being American as sharing “the desire for happiness, prosperity, and liberty.” (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
“Harlem Scene” (1930s) by Sid Grossman. Grossman’s early work captured regular New Yorkers going about their life. By the ’40s, he had begun to take pictures with subjects out of frame and staring back at the camera, a more surreal move to make the viewer “an engaged participant.” (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
“Harlem Dancing School” (1938) by Sol Prom (Solomon Fabricant). Prom is known for his later portraits of shoeshine boys, including “Boy Standing,” which will be featured at the Jewish Museum. (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
“Ideal Laundry” (1946) by Arthur Leipzig. Leipzig is one of the best-known photographers of the New York Photo League, known especially for his portraits of the 1940s. (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
“Coney Island” (1947) by Grossman. Grossman co-founded the Photo League with Sol Libsohn, and his coverage of labor union activity helped the organization become blacklisted by the FBI as a communist organization in 1947. (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
“Boy Jumping into Hudson River” (1948) by Ruth Orkin. Orkin was a photogrpaher, filmmaker, and late additon to the New York Photo League. Best known for international work like “American Girl in Italy” (1951), she said that “being a photographer is making people look at what I want them to look at.” (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
“Butterfly Boy” (1949) by Jerome Liebling. Liebling, a distinguished photographer and teacher, took this photo of a young boy in Harlem and his oversized cloth “wings,” two years after joining the Photo League. (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
“Chalk Games” (1950) by Arthur Leipzig. Children in their element play multiple chalk games across a car-lined street in Prospect Place, Brooklyn. (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
“Untitled” (1950) by Tosh Matsumoto, who captures a young boy reaching for a high-fly ball. Matsumoto was an American-Japanese immigrant best known for his enigmatic portraits, including photos of entwined legs and the backs of diner’s heads. (Jewish Museum/REUTERS)
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