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Harold Feinstein
Date: American, b. 1931 - 2015

Coney Island native Harold Feinstein embarked on his career in photography at the age of fifteen, and by the time he was nineteen, the Museum of Modern Art was collecting and exhibiting his work. Self-taught, he worked closely with W. Eugene Smith during the early 1950s and learned from him the value of photography in reorienting one's thinking. From the 1950s through the 1970s, a wide variety of periodicals published his work, including LIFE, Audubon, Newsday, the New York Times, Aperture, Newsweek, Camera 35, and Ladies' Home Journal. Since the late 1950s, Feinstein has been influential as a teacher, at the University of Pennsylvania, the School of Visual Arts, the Maryland Institute of Art, and elsewhere, and in private workshops. Exhibitions of his work have been held at ICP, the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris, and the George Eastman House.

Feinstein is best known for photographs he made at Coney Island in the 1950s. Not merely lighthearted studies of people having fun, they brought viewers close enough to his subjects and their typical activities-sunning themselves, riding on the roller coaster, talking, and laughing--to feel as though they were sharing in those experiences. Engaging and magnetic, these images skirted the edges of intrusiveness, thrilling viewers. Feinstein has also produced photographic series on New York street life, flowers, seashells, backs, and rippling water. Feinstein's street photography echoes the excitement of urban life while recognizing its potential for alienation and loneliness.

Lisa Hostetler
Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 215.