Culture & Communication
HARLEM STREET PORTRAITS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY HARVEY STEIN
WITH ESSAYS BY HERB BOYD AND MISS ROSEN
The first photographic encounter renowned New York street photographer Harvey Stein had with Harlem was when he documented the annual African American parade on Malcolm X Boulevard in 1990. Swept away by the spirit and humanity of the legendary neighborhood and its inhabitants, Stein continued to photograph Harlem for 23 years from 1990 to 2012. His close-up, intimate, evocative portraits of the people of Harlem are published for the first time in Harlem Street Portraits (Schiffer Publishing, October 2013). They capture a powerful sense of community, and the charged atmosphere of Harlem’s rich street life that attracts visitors from around the world. Accompanying the photographs are essays by African American activist, writer and teacher Herb Boyd, and writer and third generation New Yorker,Miss Rosen.
The 166 black and white photographs gathered in this beautiful volume reveal Stein’s reverence and love for the friendliness and warmth of Harlem’s everyday men and women, and the vibrant and bustling vitality of a historic place that has been the center of African American life and culture for over 100 years. Shooting with a wide-angle lens, Stein’s close encounters with families, couples, friends, the elderly, and youth are always honest, direct and involving. Each portrait is more than a depiction of a person; it is an intimate record that necessitates direct engagement between photographer and subject showing the mutuality between people.
Stein’s subjects are dressed for church in their Sunday best, for school, for work, for special occasions, for playing sports, for leisure time as they hang out alone or engage with others on the street that is always the center of the action. They are captured in a diverse array of poses, expressions, and gestures, standing and sitting, and generally staring directly at the camera. The details are in the clothing and the urban landscape — the t-shirt designs, hairstyles, jewelry, hats, shoes, costumes, suits, dresses, graffiti, storefronts, apartment buildings, stoops, and signage. As the work spans more than two decades, we are witnessing Harlem during a period of radical transition in style, fashion, and sense of place as new buildings go up, rents skyrocket, upscale restaurants open, and people who have lived there for generations are forced out of their homes. One gets the sense that despite all the changes going on around them, the people in Stein’s photographs are deeply rooted, fiercely proud of their community, and here to stay.
In her essay, Miss Rosen writes that « Like August Sander, Stein stands before his subjects and relates to them directly in a silent but evocative conversation that is captured in these images. For Stein, the act of taking each photograph is a way to connect with our inner humanity. »
With a population of nearly half a million people, Harlem is America’s most celebrated African-American neighborhood. Its rich past and historical importance has made a unique contribution to our national popular culture. Stein’s photographs capture and celebrate the Harlem spirit.
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 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); andParallels: 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 –75 one-person and over 150 group shows to date. His photographs are in more than 50 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. Stein’s work can be seen at www.harveysteinphoto.com.
Herb Boyd is a journalist, activist, and teacher, and has authored or edited 23 books, including his most recent one, By Any Means Necessary: Malcolm X-Real, Not Reinvented, co-edited with Ron Daniels, Maulana Karenga, and Haki Madhubuti. Other recent books include Civil Rights: Yesterday & Today and Baldwin’s Harlem, a biography of James Baldwin, which was a finalist for a 2009 NAACP Image Award. In 1995, with Robert Allen, he was a recipient of an American Book Award for Brotherman – The Odyssey of Black Men in America – An Anthology. We Shall Overcome, a media-fusion book with narration by the late Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, is used in classrooms all over the world, as is his Autobiography of a People and The Harlem Reader. His articles can be found in dozens of publications such as The Black Scholar, The Final Call, The Amsterdam News, Cineaste, Downbeat, and The Network Journal.
Miss Rosen is a third-generation New Yorker who grew up in the Bronx during the 1970s. A regular contributor to Le Journal de la Photographie, Miss Rosen has also written for theTelegraph, Vogue Italia, and Whitewall, among others. She had her own imprint, Miss Rosen Editions, under which she published fifteen titles while working as Vice President of Marketing & Publicity at powerHouse Books for a decade. Her career highlights include the Vandal Squad panel discussion at the powerHouse Arena, Brooklyn; We B*Girlz: A 25th Anniversary Breakin Event at Lincoln Center Out of Doors; and the graffiti episode of NBCs « The Apprentice. »
Book Specifications: 12″ x 9″ | 166 illustrations | 192 pp ISBN13: 9780764344879 | hard cover
In collaboration with Andrea Smith Public Relations – International PR