Lillian Bassman | Anneliese Seubert, 1996

Posted: July 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Film, New York City, Photography

Anneliese Seubert, 1996 © Lillian Bassman

Anneliese Seubert, 1996 © Lillian Bassman


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Magnum Photos | The Mexican Suitcase

Posted: December 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Film, History, Photography

In December 2007, three boxes filled with rolls of film containing 4,500 35mm negatives of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) taken by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and David Seymour (aka “Chim”)—which had been considered lost since 1939—arrived at the International Center of Photography. These three photographers, who lived in Paris, worked in Spain, and published internationally, laid the foundation for modern war photography. Their work has long been considered some of the most innovative and passionate coverage of the Spanish Civil War. An exhibition of Mexican Suitcase images is on view at the ICP from Sept. 24, 2010, to Jan. 9, 2011.

 

The Mexican Suitcase

The Mexican Suitcase

 

Many of the contact sheets made from the negatives are on view as part of the exhibition, which looks closely at some of the major stories covered by Capa, Taro, and Chim, as interpreted through the individual frames. These images can be seen alongside the magazines of the period in which they were published and with the photographers’ own contact notebooks.

The complete story is available on the ICP site.

 

E BARCARÈS, France—Exiled Republicans being marched on the beach from one internment camp to another area by a French policeman, March 1939.

E BARCARÈS, France—Exiled Republicans being marched on the beach from one internment camp to another area by a French policeman, March 1939.

MADRID—A Republican officer and Gerda Taro in University City, February 1937.

MADRID—A Republican officer and Gerda Taro in University City, February 1937.

TERUEL, Spain—A man carrying a wounded boy, December 1937. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

TERUEL, Spain—A man carrying a wounded boy, December 1937. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

TERUEL, Spain—Ernest Hemingway (third from left), New York Times journalist Herbert Matthews (second from left), and two Republican soldiers, late December 1937. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

TERUEL, Spain—Ernest Hemingway (third from left), New York Times journalist Herbert Matthews (second from left), and two Republican soldiers, late December 1937. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—An outdoor mass for Republican soldiers, near Lekeitio, in the Basque region, January/February 1937. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—An outdoor mass for Republican soldiers, near Lekeitio, in the Basque region, January/February 1937. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

MADRID—Dolores Ibárruri (La Pasionaria), spring/summer 1936. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

MADRID—Dolores Ibárruri (La Pasionaria), spring/summer 1936. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—A mother nursing a baby while listening to a political speech near Badajoz, Extremadura, late April/early May 1936. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—A mother nursing a baby while listening to a political speech near Badajoz, Extremadura, late April/early May 1936. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

MADRID—Two Republican soldiers carrying a crucifix, October/November 1936. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

MADRID—Two Republican soldiers carrying a crucifix, October/November 1936. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

VALENCIA, Spain—Training of the New People’s Army, March 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

VALENCIA, Spain—Training of the New People’s Army, March 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

VALENCIA, Spain—A crowd at the gate of a morgue after an air raid, May 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

VALENCIA, Spain—A crowd at the gate of a morgue after an air raid, May 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

MADRID—Workers fortifying the Plaza de Cibeles, spring 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

MADRID—Workers fortifying the Plaza de Cibeles, spring 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—A Republican soldier on a motorcycle at the Segovia front, in Navacerrada Pass, late May/early June 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—A Republican soldier on a motorcycle at the Segovia front, in Navacerrada Pass, late May/early June 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

MADRID—A woman taking inventory of the paintings in the collection of Las Descalzas Reales with two Republican soldiers, October/November 1936. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

MADRID—A woman taking inventory of the paintings in the collection of Las Descalzas Reales with two Republican soldiers, October/November 1936. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—Republican soldiers on the Segovia front in Navacerrada Pass, May/June 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—Republican soldiers on the Segovia front in Navacerrada Pass, May/June 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

TERUEL, Spain—Republican soldiers in a destroyed building on the lookout for Nationalist soldiers, December 1937. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

TERUEL, Spain—Republican soldiers in a destroyed building on the lookout for Nationalist soldiers, December 1937. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

AMOREBIETA, Spain—Republican soldiers running in the Basque region, 1937. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

AMOREBIETA, Spain—Republican soldiers running in the Basque region, 1937. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

VALENCIA, Spain—Air-raid victims in the morgue, May 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

VALENCIA, Spain—Air-raid victims in the morgue, May 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—Two Republican soldiers with another on a stretcher, in Navacerrada Pass, May/June 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—Two Republican soldiers with another on a stretcher, in Navacerrada Pass, May/June 1937. © Gerda Taro © 2002 by International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—Republican soldiers storming forward in jumps, at Rio Segre, on the Aragon front, near Fraga, Nov. 7, 1938. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—Republican soldiers storming forward in jumps, at Rio Segre, on the Aragon front, near Fraga, Nov. 7, 1938. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—A Republican machine-gunner behind stones, Nov. 7, 1938. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—A Republican machine-gunner behind stones, Nov. 7, 1938. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—Bottles and glasses on a table in the Basque region, January 1937. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

SPAIN—Bottles and glasses on a table in the Basque region, January 1937. © David Seymour / Magnum Photos

BRAM, France—A line of men receiving food in an internment camp for Republican exiles, March 1939. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

BRAM, France—A line of men receiving food in an internment camp for Republican exiles, March 1939. © ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

PARIS—Photographers Gerda Taro and Robert Capa at the Café du Dôme in Montparnasse, early 1936. © Fred Stein / Magnum Photos

PARIS—Photographers Gerda Taro and Robert Capa at the Café du Dôme in Montparnasse, early 1936. © Fred Stein / Magnum Photos


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Mary Ellen Mark | Seen Behind The Scenes

Posted: February 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Cinema, Film, Photography, Quotes

Mary Ellen Mark’s latest book from Phaidon, Seen Behind the Scene: Forty Years of Photographing On Set, is a beautiful volume, full of genuine, candid moments, posed portraits and a great insider’s peak at the process behind some of the most iconic films since the late sixties.

Whether Mark is shooting portraits of people on the fringe or documenting issues, she brings a lushness and striking empathy to her subjects. Combine this velvety touch with the make-believe machinations of a movie set and legendary figures of cinema, and the results are a surreal anthropologic study of cinematic artists where there is no line between performance and reality.

It’s like looking behind the curtain and seeing nothing but towering giants.

Dustin Hoffman sneaks up on Lawrence Olivier on the set of John Schlesinger’s Marathon Man (1976) in New York’s Central Park. Mary Ellen Mark

Dustin Hoffman sneaks up on Lawrence Olivier on the set of John Schlesinger’s Marathon Man (1976) in New York’s Central Park. Mary Ellen Mark

The levity of the photos belies the tension of the scene being shot, in which Babe (Hoffman) frog-marches Szell (Olivier) to the reservoir pump house in the film’s climax. Mary Ellen Mark

The levity of the photos belies the tension of the scene being shot, in which Babe (Hoffman) frog-marches Szell (Olivier) to the reservoir pump house in the film’s climax. Mary Ellen Mark

It’s all changed so much. When I first started to photograph, it was really based on individuality. Much more. When I look at photographs now, I think sometimes it’s hard to tell actually who took the photograph.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Photos from Mary Ellen Mark’s Seen Behind the Scene: Forty Years of Photographing on Set, published by Phaidon Press Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie” in the dressing room

Photos from Mary Ellen Mark’s Seen Behind the Scene: Forty Years of Photographing on Set, published by Phaidon Press Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie” in the dressing room

Now there is a big emphasis on advertising so it requires a lot of studio work. When I first started to work on film sets, you didn’t need to do any studio shots.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark, pictured above in 1976 on the Philippines set of Apocalypse Now, has a new book out: Seen Behind the Scene (Phaidon Press) collects forty years of her on-set photography from a wide range of movies.

Mary Ellen Mark, pictured above in 1976 on the Philippines set of Apocalypse Now, has a new book out: Seen Behind the Scene (Phaidon Press) collects forty years of her on-set photography from a wide range of movies. Photo by Dean Tavoularis

I was on that set almost a month [Apocalypse Now], and it was such a luxury. It took away a lot of the pressure to get the material I needed. I can’t stand having my picture taken now. You see a picture of yourself as a young woman and think, ‘I wish I still looked like that.’

-Mary Ellen Mar, New York Times interview

Jack Nicholson, Stockard Channing and Warren Beatty on the set of "The Fortune" in 1974, Mary Ellen Mark

Jack Nicholson, Stockard Channing and Warren Beatty on the set of "The Fortune" in 1974, Mary Ellen Mark

I could never have thought of that pose [above]. I’m not a conceptual photographer. If I’d asked them to do it, it never would have happened. I think I snapped off two frames, and that was it. It was over.

-Mary Ellen Mark, New York Times interview

Nicole Kidman in costume on set, Australia, Kununurra, Australia, 2007. Mary Ellen Mark

Nicole Kidman in costume on set, Australia, Kununurra, Australia, 2007. Mary Ellen Mark

You used to have much more freedom. You used to really be able to wander the set much, much more. And I work a lot on Tim Burton’s films and when I do go on his set, he does give me a lot of freedom. But I think that often when the film company hires you now, they really just want studio photographs so they can use them for what they call their ‘one sheets’ for advertising.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Marlon Brando on the set of "Apocalypse Now" in 1976, Mary Ellen Mark

Marlon Brando on the set of "Apocalypse Now" in 1976, Mary Ellen Mark

On Marlon Brando:

I first worked with him in ‘The Missouri Breaks.’ The rule was, before you took his picture, you had to ask his permission. It was so frightening. And if he said no, you felt like a fool. On ‘Apocalypse’ it was easier, but I knew the idea had to be his. So I brought a jar of bugs, set them down.

-Mary Ellen Mark, New York Times interview

Sean Penn in his dressing room for the Broadway play Slab Boys, Manhattan, 1983. Mary Ellen Mark

Sean Penn in his dressing room for the Broadway play Slab Boys, Manhattan, 1983. Mary Ellen Mark

‘I asked him if I could come to his dressing room with him, and he said fine, and I took that picture. He was — a kid.’ Later Mr. Penn refused to cooperate on the set of “The Falcon and the Snowman” (1985). ‘I begged him, but he wasn’t in the mood, and it was a terrible situation because it’s your fault. You have to come back with that photograph.’

-Mary Ellen Mark, New York Times interview

Director Federico Fellini surveys the elaborate set of Satyricon (1969) in Rome, including the house where the movie’s two protagonists, Encopio and Ascilto, live. Mary Ellen Mark

Director Federico Fellini surveys the elaborate set of Satyricon (1969) in Rome, including the house where the movie’s two protagonists, Encopio and Ascilto, live. Mary Ellen Mark

With directors who love still pictures, you still have access. They don’t mind you being there. And you learn how not to be intrusive. You just take cues of where you can be that’s not going to be disturbing.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Gregory Peck with two young extras, Old Gringo, Mexico City, Mexico. Mary Ellen Mark, 1988

Gregory Peck with two young extras, Old Gringo, Mexico City, Mexico. Mary Ellen Mark, 1988

Regarding the contributions written by the filmmakers in this book and the absence of writing by herself:

I always felt as a photographer, what is really interesting about my photographs are the subjects and not myself.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman on Set, Tootsie, Hurley, New York. Mary Ellen Mark, 1982

Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman on Set, Tootsie, Hurley, New York. Mary Ellen Mark, 1982

Readying the horses for the next take, Fellini's Satyricon, Rome, Italy. Mary Ellen Mark, 1969

Readying the horses for the next take, Fellini's Satyricon, Rome, Italy. Mary Ellen Mark, 1969

I just think it’s important to be direct and honest with people about why you’re photographing them and what you’re doing. After all, you are taking some of their soul.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Tim Burton prepares for a scene with Paul Giamatti (in orangutan costume) in his remake of Planet of the Apes (2001). Mary Ellen Mark

Tim Burton prepares for a scene with Paul Giamatti (in orangutan costume) in his remake of Planet of the Apes (2001). Mary Ellen Mark

The Cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Posing for their photograph on location at the Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon. Mary Ellen Mark, 1974

The Cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Posing for their photograph on location at the Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon. Mary Ellen Mark, 1974

Alejandro González Iñárritu directs Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt in a small Moroccan village for a scene of Babel (2006). Mary Ellen Mark

Alejandro González Iñárritu directs Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt in a small Moroccan village for a scene of Babel (2006). Mary Ellen Mark

Regarding the absence of any images from Arthur Penn’s “Alice’s Restaurant” in the book:

That was the first film that I worked on. And I looked at the pictures and I didn’t really think that I did as well as I should have on that film. It was the first one. I wanted these pictures to all be of a certain level. Although it was a wonderful film to work on, I almost wished it had happened a bit later when I was more experienced.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Cinematographer Billy Williams checks Katharine Hepburn’s light in the woods of New Hampshire on the set of On Golden Pond (1981), directed by Mark Rydell. Mary Ellen Mark

Cinematographer Billy Williams checks Katharine Hepburn’s light in the woods of New Hampshire on the set of On Golden Pond (1981), directed by Mark Rydell. Mary Ellen Mark

Director Francis Ford Coppola shelters himself from the driving rain that added to the troubles of an already beleaguered shoot for Apocalypse Now (1979). Mary Ellen Mark

Director Francis Ford Coppola shelters himself from the driving rain that added to the troubles of an already beleaguered shoot for Apocalypse Now (1979). Mary Ellen Mark

Reality is always extraordinary.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, and Art Garfunkel “French-kissing” on the set of Mike Nichols’s Carnal Knowledge (1971), in Vancouver, Canada. Mary Ellen Mark

Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, and Art Garfunkel “French-kissing” on the set of Mike Nichols’s Carnal Knowledge (1971), in Vancouver, Canada. Mary Ellen Mark

The obsessions we have are pretty much the same our whole lives. Mine are people, the human condition, life.

-Mary Ellen Mark

Melanie Griffith with her then boyfriend, Don Johnson, on Sanibel Island, Florida, during a break in filming of Night Moves (1975), directed by Arthur Penn. Mary Ellen Mark

Melanie Griffith with her then boyfriend, Don Johnson, on Sanibel Island, Florida, during a break in filming of Night Moves (1975), directed by Arthur Penn. Mary Ellen Mark

She was an innocent 15-year-old who was madly in love with Don Johnson. She was just a little kid with a little baby voice, but her mom trusted me. Now everything has to become this big production. I could never get a picture of that intimate morning now.

-Mary Ellen Mark, New York Times interview

Johnny Depp and Gunpowder, his character’s horse, in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999), Surrey, England. Mary Ellen Mark

Johnny Depp and Gunpowder, his character’s horse, in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999), Surrey, England. Mary Ellen Mark

People like Johnny Depp – he’s amazing, and he’s really cooperative – can make the picture for you, but you have to be able to move very quickly. You have to be on top of things, always, and know when to try to catch a picture.

-Mary Ellen Mark


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Henri Cartier-Bresson | Ezra Pound

Posted: December 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Film, Poetry, Quotes

Ezra Pound, Venice 1971 © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

VENICE—Ezra Pound, 1971 Henri Cartier-Bresson © Magnum Photos

Martine Franck, Cartier-Bresson’s widow, accompanied her husband to just one — probably atypical — portrait session, that of the poet Ezra Pound in Venice in 1971, a year before his death at 87.

There was a tremendous, heavy silence,’ recalled Ms. Franck, herself a photographer. ‘Pound didn’t say a word. He just seemed to condemn the world with his eyes. We were there for about 20 minutes. I stayed to one side. I huddled in a corner. Henri took seven pictures.’

From This Decisive Moment On by Alan Riding in The New York Times, January 26, 2006


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Mad Men | Penn Station

Posted: August 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Architecture, Film, History, New York City, Photography, Quotes

This past Sunday, “Mad Men” (Season 3 Episode 2) referenced the venerable architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable when Paul Kinsey and Pete Campbell were meeting with the developers of Madison Square Garden, discussing plans to knock down Penn Station.

It quotes Ms. Huxtable’s article in the New York Times from 1963 about Penn Station, called “How to Kill a City”. The New York Times has offered the full article in PDF to download and read here.

A eulogy in October of ’63 ran in the editorial section:

Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.

- “Farewell to Penn Station,” New York Times, Oct 30, 1963

Comparing the old to the new, Vincent Scully of Yale University remarked,

One entered the city like a god. One scuttles in now like a rat.

The original Penn Station was a steel and glass shrine to transportation, an elegant Beaux-Arts temple with its 150 foot high ceilings and a waiting room modeled after the Roman Baths of Caracalla.

Now it is an underground Habitrail™, lit by yellowed fluorescents and flavored by the odors of Roy Rogers™ and Cinnabon™ stinking down the corridors. Excepting the mad scurry for Amtrak platforms after the track number has finally been revealed on the big board, it is an oppressive space completely without joy.

photographer unknown

photographer unknown

Couple in Penn Station Sharing Farewell Kiss Before He Ships Off to War During WWII by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Couple in Penn Station Sharing Farewell Kiss Before He Ships Off to War During WWII by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Life Magazine has posted an entire series by Eisenstaedt of WWII soldiers’ farewells at Penn Station here.

Penn Station, circa 1910, Detroit Publishing Company

Circa 1910, Detroit Publishing Company; click to view the full size image

photographer unknown

Berenice Abbott, printed ca. 1935

AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman

AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman

photograph by Peter Moore

Peter Moore; click to view full size

Peter Moore and his wife Barbara documented the death of Penn Station and published their work, The Destruction Of Penn Station.

photographer unknown

today

The only consolation is that Penn Station’s demolition was a large factor in the creation of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965.


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Helen Levitt, 1913 – 2009

Posted: August 24th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, Leica, New York City, Photography, Quotes

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this little alcove in the Metropolitan Museum of Art that was dedicated to the photographs of Helen Levitt, a small tribute to her work in light of her death in March 2009. I had been familiar with her work in passing but I had never seen any of her photos in person. These small dark prints had such delight and spoke so honestly of the street and in the capacity for the squalor of pre-war New York to be playful and whimsical.

Helen shot on the streets of New York most of her life (excepting a series in Mexico City) and documented the neighborhoods and sidewalk dwellers with an eye towards the lighthearted frolic of daily life that contrasted with the harsh urban streets, giving her images a surrealist quality. She had abandoned her large format camera after seeing an exhibit by Cartier-Bresson and began to use the 35mm Leica, occasionally with a prism to disguise the fact that she was photographing a subject.

She was a film editor and director and worked for Buñuel, works which I have not yet seen. In later years she used color, but for my own tastes, her images from the thirties and forties remain evocative and stirring.

Powerhouse Books has published several books of hers, some of which I will be buying shortly.

From the New York Times obituary.

Changes in neighborhood life also affected her work. “I go where there’s a lot of activity,” she said. “Children used to be outside. Now the streets are empty. People are indoors looking at television or something.”

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Helen Levitt, Los Angeles Times, 1963

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Helen Levitt, New York City, c 1939

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Helen Levitt, New York City, c 1940

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Helen Levitt, New York City, 1942

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Helen Levitt, New York City, 1940

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Helen Levitt, New York City, 1939

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Helen Levitt, New York City, c 1940

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Helen Levitt, New York c. 1945

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Helen Levitt, New York c. 1942

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Helen Levitt, Street Drawing, New York, 1940

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Helen Levitt, New York c. 1942

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Helen Levitt, New York City, c 1940

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Helen Levitt, New York c. 1942

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Helen Levitt, New York c. 1945

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Helen Levitt, New York c. 1942

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Helen Levitt, New York c. 1940


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