new-york

Sid Grossman, Union Square, NYC, ca. 1938, gelatin silver print, 7 3/4 × 13 1/4".

Sid Grossman

Howard Greenberg Gallery

Sid Grossman, Union Square, NYC, ca. 1938, gelatin silver print, 7 3/4 × 13 1/4".

This exhibition of forty photographs by the left-leaning, Depression-era photographer Sid Grossman—a cofounder of the influential Photo League cooperative and school—felt oddly timely. Grossman, who died in 1955 at the age of forty-two, was a pioneer of street photography in the United States, creating all-too-human images that focused on ostensibly anonymous individuals—the nameless folks we might encounter in the course of everyday life. In Grossman’s hands, each of these people is a hauntingly specific presence, each unique, each radiant with character. Consider, for example, the laughing bathers peering at us in Coney Island, 1947, or the more serious woman in Oklahoma, 1940, her legs seeming to cross as she steps out of a store surrounded by garish cola advertisements. Some of his subjects are suffering—many live in wretched conditions—but they often

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