Jan 16, 2007

New York

New York


Helen Levitt

(American, 1913-2009)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 14.5 x 21.1 cm (5 11/16 x 8 5/16 in.); Matted: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1993.214



A frequent theme for Helen Levitt was the power of the imagination in children’s play in New York City’s poorer neighborhoods. The boys with toy guns may be playing war or cops and robbers. Whatever scenario they chose, their game echoed grave events from the adult world. Levitt often used a right-angle viewfinder so her subjects were unaware; they thought she was pointing the camera in another direction. The children in Walter Rosenblum’s image, in contrast, smile directly at the photographer as they express the sheer physical joy and glee of taking flight on swings.

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