New York Photo Review
Volume 3 Issue 8 March 7 to 13, 2012

City Chromes

New York in Color
Taxi, 1957 by Saul Leiter. Source:
Saul Leiter, "Taxi, 1957

If you liked the book, this show is for you. And if you haven’t yet seen the book, New York in Color, edited by Bob Shamis, look forward to visiting the Howard Greenberg Gallery– and soon.

The exhibition, which was co-curated by Shamis, features 42 images by some of the best known photographers of the 20th century– Klein, Haas, Leiter, Davidson, Meyerowitz, Levitt, plus a few you don’t normally associate with color, i.e, Danny Lyons — along with some lesser known names and almost unknowns. No matter. Together, most of these photographs paint a lush picture of a New York that once was –– and the way photography used to be when Kodachrome and dye transfer prints set the standard for color photography and began to make color more acceptable in the fine art world. In fact, it’s hard to visualize New York these days as a black and white town, but before the 1950s, that’s pretty much how it looked. As color film and processing technology evolved, more photographers began shooting color and the results are history— some of which is on Greenberg’s walls. So are some more contemporary images from the 2000s like Abelardo Morello’s camera obscura view of the “Brooklyn Bridge in Bedroom”. It seems oddly out of place in a room filled with street and fashion photography classics by Joel Meyerowitz, Marvin Newman, William Klein and Norman Parkinson, among others. OK, attribute it to a need for diversity and it fits in, sort of.

New York, 1950 by Louis Faurer. Source:
Louis Faurer, "New York, 1950" 1950

Saul Leiter is here, of course. His “El, 1954” is a subway from another era. “Taxi, 1957” is painterly. Period. I also liked Louis Faurer’s 1950s color images of “14th Street” and “NY, NY.” He was better known for his black and white street photography in the 1940s and 50s, so these stand out. So do many other photographs such as Marvin Newman’s stunning “Coney Island” from 1953. The “Photos While U Wait” sign is already a poignant reminder that photography wasn’t always a matter of instant gratification. Fast forward to the 21st century and Jeff Mermelstein’s street photography, which looks familiar and makes you feel more at home.

If you truly long for the old days (not that there’s anything wrong with that), explore the modest Photo League exhibition in Greenberg’s South Gallery; you’ll see New York in black and white by names ranging from Ruth Orkin and Sid Grossman to Weegee. It’s a nice contrast to the more colorful days ahead.

New York in Color
Curator: Bob Shamis

Howard Greenberg
41 E 57th St. 14th Fl
Midtown         Map

212 334 0010

Friday, February 3 to
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Hours: Tues - Sat, 10 to 6