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November 1, 2016

31 Amazing Black and White Photographs That Document Street Life of New York City in the 1940s

Fred Stein (1909-1967) was an early pioneer of the hand-held camera who became a gifted street photographer in Paris and New York after he was forced to flee his native Germany by the Nazi threat in the early 1930s. He explored the new creative possibilities of photography, capturing spontaneous scenes from life on the street. He was also a master portraitist, creating intimate images of many of the great personalities of the 20th century.

In the freedom of New York, the energy of the city infused Stein's work. He added the medium-format Rolleiflex, which takes pictures in a square format.

The city's cultural mix fit perfectly with his talents and concerns. He took to the streets and ranged from Harlem to Fifth Avenue, invigorated by the bustle and variety of the New World. He loved the American spirit; and as an outsider, he came to the various ethnic areas without preconceived ideas. He was able to see in the residents a style, humor and dignity that seems perfectly fresh, even today, as evidenced in "Little Italy" 1943.

Newspaper Hat, 1946

Girl in Car, 1947

Mt. Morris Park

Two Matrons, NY, 1948

Police Car, New York, 1942

Lunch Break, New York, 1947

Brooklyn boys, 1946

Post No Bills, NY, 1946

Dobbs, Fifth Avenue, NY, 1946

Ballfield, NY, 1946

Coney Island, 1946

Times Square Night, NY, 1947

Shoeshine, 1948

Nadinola, New York, 1944

Man on Bumper, NY, 1949

Thumbs Up, NY, 1944

Hydrant, 1947

Climbing Rocks, NY, 1948

Americans All, New York, 1943

Orchard Beach, New York, 1946

Man in Pushcart, NY, 1944

Under the El, New York, 1949

Subway Steps, NY, 1943

Little Italy, New York, 1943

Chinatown, 1944

Bench, NY, 1941

Vaudeville, NY 1946

Snow White, 1946

Schoolboys, NY, 1944

Italy Surrenders, NY, 1943

Foley Square, NY, 1948


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