Harold Feinstein is a well-known photographer who was born in Coney Island in 1931 and lives in Brooklyn. New York City (and Coney Island in particular) has been the inspiration for his black-and-white street photography for over sixty years. In 1990, ICP’s exhibition A Coney Island of the Heart: Five Decades of Photographs by Harold Feinstein focused on Feinstein’s passion for his birthplace.
Harold Feinstein, Lace Weeds Blowing with Clouds, Saxtons River, Vt., 1976 (620.1982)
During the seventies, Feinstein was still focused on New York and was consolidating his career as one of the New York School photographers. Meanwhile, he was slowly changing his subject matter.
Harold Feinstein, Squash Flower, Saxtons River, Vt., 1977 (627.1982)
Remarkably, ICP has some of Feinstein’s photographs in its collection that were taken in 1976, which show this significant change and depict some flowers. Amazingly, these pictures are still shot with black-and-white film, but are very close-up and isolated with a neutral background.
These compositions foreshadow the subject matter that would be fully developed in color photography. Indeed, during the eighties, the photographer started working in a completely new style, reproducing and revealing the beauty of flowers, leaves, seashells, and butterflies.
Harold Feinstein, Gloriosa, 1980 (630.1982)
Feistein has often declared that he started shooting flowers up on the roof of his small Greenwich Village studio and holding “blossom up against the sky to the translucence of the petals.” As he said: “That series of 35 mm photographs was entitled Sky Flowers and I had many of them printed as dye transfers and Cibachrome.”
Harold Feinstein, Cattleya, 1980 (633.1982)
From that period on, Feinstein started exploring not only a completely different subject but also experimented with new techniques, such as scanography, which utilizes a scanner as a camera. He was inspired by nature and flowers and composed short poems. Similarly, I was inspired by his work “Flora”; his poetic vision is perfect way to celebrate April, National Gardening Month.
Harold Feinstein, Siddhartha, 1980 (638.1982)