Cover image for New York : capital of photography
New York : capital of photography
Kozloff, Max.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Jewish Museum ; New Haven : Yale University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 205 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 32 cm
General Note:
"Published in conjunction with the exhibition ... the Jewish Museum, New York, Apr. 28-Sept. 2, 2002; Madison Art Center, Madison, Wisconsin, Dec. 7, 2002-Feb. 16, 2003; Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, Apr. 10-June 9, 2003)"--T.p. verso.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR645.N72 K68 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



For street photographers, New York has always been a city of unparalleled visual excitement, teeming with diverse people and distinctive neighborhoods. New York: Capital of Photography examines how photographers chronicled New York throughout the twentieth century, how the city changed their vision, and how their work affected ideas about New York throughout the world.

This beautifully illustrated book presents the work of both famous and lesser-known photographers, many of them Jewish. An underlying theme in this pictorial history of New York is the critical role played by Jewish sensibility. Max Kozloff begins with the development of street photography that emerged in New York in the early 1900s with a local school of photographers led by Alfred Stieglitz. Documenting work, loneliness, play, conflict, love, and spectacle, this group came to define urban perception as the characteristic visual experience of modernity. Some photographers also became social activists, observing New York's ethnic and racial diversity and focusing their lenses on newcomers and marginalized groups. From the 1930s to 1960s, Kozloff shows, members of the New York School envisioned the city in a different way, as a processing center for immigrants, a site of commercial display, and a crossroads of world culture. In the 1950s and 1960s, photographers saw New York as an uneasy battleground, and their pictures caught the forces of civil rights, sexual liberation, and leftist politics

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

As Walker Evans aged, he arrived in New York City to demonstrate some of photography's best tricks, epitomized by his candid portraits of subway riders shot through peepholes cut in newspapers he pretended to read. Evans is one of dozens of photographers in this well-designed and often surprising book, which accompanies an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York and reveals a city full of visual excitement. The former executive editor of Artforum, Kozloff curated the show and compiled this volume of black-and-white (and some color) photographs, mostly by Jewish artists, spanning from 1898 to 2001. In technique and composition, these pictures fail to fit any studious or professional parameters. Instead, they represent a rough, immediate, and nearly accidental moment on film, the work of an exceptionally savvy and improvisational band of photographers. Weegee, Diane Arbus, Ben Shahn, Alfred Stieglitz, and others represented here have understood and pointed a camera at scenes that capture the heart of a great metropolis its random and endless gatherings of people, who are all New Yorkers. Recommended. David Bryant, New Canaan Lib., CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Once again (cf. Jane Livingston's The New York School: Photographs, 1936-1963, CH, Mar'93), a book demonstrates the rich content found in New York City by social documentary, humanistic, street photographers. Kozloff covers the whole 20th century from the Byron brothers to Nan Goldin and focuses on the importance of immigration and ethnicity (most photographers here were immigrants or first- or second-generation citizens) to an understanding of the city's inhabitants, photographers, and their pictures, finding particular significance in the fact that the overwhelming majority of New York's exceptional photographers were and are Jews. Kozloff's text is exceptionally clear, provocative, thoughtful, and informative--a searching, careful exploration. He blends the evolution of the city and the medium to create an illuminating cultural history. His experienced, perceptive eye, providing a careful analysis of individual photographs, is aided by a wealth of supporting evidence from a broad range of sources. The last chapter, an engaging discourse on how the historical image of the city was colored by the fact that most of the photographers were Jews, is not as convincing. And, unfortunately, some important photographers were not included (e.g., Robert Frank and Lee Friedlander), and some were included in the exhibition but not the book (e.g., Diane Arbus and Roy DeCarava). Nonetheless, a rich resource. All levels. C. Chiarenza emeritus, University of Rochester