Preponderance of Jewish
to the Big Apple.
Special to the Jewish News
ith its distinctive ethnic neighborhoods, from
Harlem and the Lower East Side to Chinatown,
Chelsea and Greenwich Village, New York City
has always been a photographer's mecca.
A pioneering exhibition, "New York: Capital of -
Photography," at the Jewish Museum in New York City
through Sept. 2, chronicles the changing face of the Big
Apple throughout the 20th century. (A related exhibit,
"New York Observed: The Mythology of the City," runs
through Sept. 22 in the West Gallery of the University of
Michigan Museum of Art — see story on page 68.)
"New York: Capital of Photography" displays more than 100
photographs in black and white and color by 60 artists, two-
thirds of whom are Jewish, and conveys America's largest
metropolis with visual poignancy and poetry.
Outsiders themselves, these Jewish street photographers
reveal, through their subject matter, an affinity for those who
lived on the margins of society.
Of the hundreds of professional photographers in New York
throughout the 20th century, an overwhelming number were
Jewish. As one of the few trades Jews in 19th-century Europe
were permitted to practice, photography was an immediate draw
for Jewish immigrants in the United States, explains exhibit
curator Max Kozloff in his exhaustive and scholarly catalogue.
In New York's thriving Jewish culture, Jewish photogra-
phers flourished as well. An 1898 image of Hester Street on
the city's congested Lower East Side by the Byron Company
is crowded with pushcarts and bargaining housewives.
But Jewish photographers of the early to mid-20th century
did not define themselves as such at a time when anti-
NEW YORK on page 66