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The selected images in this book reflect the East Harlem community in the postwar years, which would later grow into a center of Puerto Rican culture and life in the U.S. From the families portrayed gathering on stoops, to the kids at their shoeshine stations, to youths playing ball, to anti-war posters on neighborhood walls, his images of East Harlem provide windows into the socio-economic, cultural and political landscapes of the time.
Goldstein’s East Harlem photographs are gathered for the first time in this book edited by Régina Monfort. Until 2016, when the prints were catalogued, this body of work remained mostly untouched and unseen. There are no negatives in existence.
A small number of Leo’s images from the East Harlem corpus have appeared in exhibits and publications of Photo League work, beginning with the seminal exhibit “This Is the Photo League” (1948-1949) and later in the book, This Was the Photo League, published in 2000. His work was included in “The Photo League, 1936-1951,” an exhibition organized by Howard Greenberg at the Photofind Gallery in Woodstock, NY in 1985. One of Leo’s images was also included in the 2011-12 exhibit at the Jewish Museum entitled “The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League, 1936-1951.”
The publication of this book was made possible in part by a grant from the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation.
Leo Goldstein’s East Harlem body of work was made by the artist from about 1949 to the mid-1950s and represents an important addition to the photographic history of New York City.