“Wonder Wheel: Harold Feinstein” will be on view at this year’s Les Rencontres d’Arles photo festival.
Harold Feinstein cannot be reduced to a series. Born 1931 in Coney Island, a “land without shadows”, his favorite place to take pictures and the perfect illustration of how he viewed American society, the only thing he ever wanted to be was a photographer. At 17 he joined the Photo League, a group of politically committed artists, and became a member of Sid Grossman’s circle. As the child of working-class Jewish immigrants, he empathized with the “little people” of New York and those left behind by prosperity. Joining the left-leaning Photo League was risky in postwar America, but Feinstein saw no other possibility for his photography than to be as close as possible to the senses and the living. For 60 years, he regularly went back to his roots, seamlessly combining biography and community. But there was more to Feinstein than Coney Island. During the Korean War his photography was revealed in its many teachings and especially in its commitment to all minorities. The exhibition brings together the original prints loaned by the Harold Feinstein Photography Trust.