Since the 1940s, Arthur Leipzig has been roaming the streets of New York, recording its residents and their myriad activities. His black-and-white photographs of lovers at Coney Island, painters on the Brooklyn Bridge and kids swimming in the East River document the human dimension of New York City. As a photojournalist, he traveled the city day and night, sometimes on assignment, sometimes on his own, but always sensitive to its energy, poverty and poetry, violence and drama. His affection for the city he calls home is manifest in his work, which captured the unvarnished side of life in New York. Focusing on Leipzig's work created in New York, the book also includes other images which capture the daily life of people across the United States. With a selection of approximately 90 photographs, this book presents the work of an important photographer who exemplifies the finest of American photojournalism.
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In this beautiful book Arthur Leipzig gives us an opportunity to see many of his finest photographs culled from a lifetime of assignments. On Assignment with Arthur Leipzig contains over 105 images beautifully printed in duotone with an introduction by Ann Tucker, Curator of Photography of the Houston Museum of Fine Art.
In 1942 Arthur Leipzig enrolled in a class at the Photo League in New York City. Anne Tucker wrote "His teacher, Sid Grossman, was a founder and senior instructor at the Photo League, a photographer's organization that taught several generations of photographers. Modest in its facilities, the League was grand in passion and was one of the few early organizations in the United States to accept and promote documentary photography's capacity to be art. Most important was the stimulating influence of Grossman as a teacher and what he learned from other students. Also challenging were the important photographers, such as Paul Strand, Weegee, Lewis Hine, and W. Eugene Smith, who participated in special classes."
The photographer Gordon Parks wrote, "Leipzig opens up our feelings to so many things." Ann Tucker wrote, "We can imagine the joy of young boys leaping into the East River, the gentle dreams of his daughter curled into sleep, and Pablo Casals pleasure in performing with Gregor Piatagorsky. While his approach to lead with his heart is evident in the pictures, most particularly in their lyric sweetness, one should not discount the mental rigors of being a photographer working on assignment."
"With his attentive eye for the composition, framing, and the poetry of his images, Leipzig never possessed the true photojournalist's hunger for the front page easy winner" -Zoom Magazine
On Assignment with Arthur Leipzig can be purchased for $60 (S/H included) at the following places:
In this book you see strong women. Mother, wife, teacher, scholar, worker, politician, artist, each is proud of her achievements. This is straight out of Jewish tradition. If a woman can run the home, she can run a company.
I like the emotions that Arthur Leipzig catches, the friendships, affection, fun. The pictures are direct, there are no clever tricks. His is an emotional response. He enjoys being there, seeing what's going on, photographing it. Jews today are vestiges of the great Jewish culture before the Holocaust, scattered remnants of a lost world. How important for Leipzig to record them now, as Roman Vishniac did Jewish life in Poland during the war.
- Jill Freedman, Sarah's Daughters
For fifty years, Arthur Leipzig has been roaming the streets of New York, capturing its moods, recording its faces, and documenting its myriad activities - from lovers at Coney Island to painters on the Brooklyn Bridge. In his role as a documentary photographer, he traveled the city day and night, sometimes on assignment, sometimes on his own, but always sensitive to its night life, its poverty and poetry, its violence and drama. His affection for the city he calls home is manifest in his work, but until this volume, the range and vitality of his New York photographs have never been displayed between the covers of a book. Here are over ninety of Leipzig's best images, all of them certain to bring a smile (or a tear) to anyone familiar with what it meant to really grow up in a city that offered, and continues to offer, just about everything to anyone. It is not the "moment" that Leipzig seeks, but rather the human face, the sense of energy, and of faith. As he writes in hs preface: "Of course, the 'good old days' were not all sweetness and light. There was poverty, racism, corruption, and violence, then as now, but somehow we all believed in the possible. We believed in hope."
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