Fred Stein: 'Paris/New York'
The career of Fred Stein (1909-1967) illustrates how easily a talented photographer can be written out of history. Born in Dresden, Germany, Mr. Stein belonged to the generation that documented trouble in Europe with hand-held cameras (in his case, a Leica) during the 1930s. Fleeing Leipzig for Paris in 1933 and France for the U.S. in 1941, he found a home with the Photo League in New York and established a successful studio practice here, specializing in portraiture.
This selection of work suggests he must have gone to school in Paris on the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson and André Kertész. Like them, he identified with those on the economic margins of the city. His pictures of the dispossessed—a man asleep on a bench, another dozing on a loading dock, a bum with wine bottles stuffed in his sagging pockets, an exhausted shoeshine boy—are standouts here.
What's unclear from this keyhole view of Mr. Stein's oeuvre is whether his impressive street photographs were more the exception or the rule.
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210 Eleventh Ave., at 24th St., New York, N.Y.