Harlem Street Portraits

Harvey Stein. Schiffer, $45 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7643-4487-9
From the dapper man taking a drag on a cigarette to a group of young women giggling, there is an immediacy and depth to Stein’s interactions with his subjects that is palpable on every page of this wonderful collection. Photographer and curator Stein (Artists Observed), who currently teaches at the International Center for Photography, shot these black-and-white images from 1990 to 2012. Although this famous neighborhood gave birth to many writers and artists and is the site of numerous historical landmarks, it is the images of ordinary Harlem residents that feel timeless. Stein’s images are artfully composed, usually tack-sharp, and typically reveal a moment of inner truth and intimacy. The book is filled with quiet, beautiful moments like that of a boy tossing a football in the air, a man sitting on a stoop with three kids, and two boys with their bicycles in front of a graffiti-painted wall. Stein’s skill as a photographer helps him to capture this storied community and its residents at their finest, and the essays by Herbert Boyd and Miss Rosen both contextualize and celebrate the work of this master documentarian. 160 b&w photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/07/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
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