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 About the Book:
Harlem Street Portraits by Harvey Stein (Schiffer Publishing, 2013) documents the humanity and spirit of the people of Harlem in 164 beautiful black and white photographs taken over 22 years, from 1990 to 2012. The images are mostly close-up portraits that reveal the friendliness and warmth of the city’s inhabitants, the vibrant and bustling vitality of the area, and the changing nature of the neighborhood. What may at first appear to be a casual encounter becomes a personal, intimate record, a meaningful collaboration between photographer and subject. With a population of nearly half a million people, Harlem is America’s most celebrated African-American neighborhood. Its rich past and historical importance have made a unique contribution to our national popular culture. Stein’s photographs capture and celebrate the Harlem spirit. The book includes an introduction by Herb Boyd.

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About the Author:
Harvey Stein is a professional photographer, teacher, lecturer, and author based in New York City. He teaches at the International Center of Photography and is a frequent lecturer on photography both in the United States and abroad. He has curated over two dozen exhibits since 2007 and is the Director of Photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery in New York City’s East Village. He has also been a member of the faculty of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Drew University, New School University, The School of Visual Arts, and the University of Bridgeport. A recipient of a Creative Arts Public Service (CAPS) fellowship and numerous artist in residency grants, Stein’s other photography books include Coney Island 40 Years (2011), Movimento: Glimpses of Italian Street Life (2006), Coney Island (1998), Artists Observed (1986) and Parallels: A Look at Twins (1978).

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Stein’s photographs and portfolios have been published in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Time, Life, Esquire, American Heritage, Forbes, Smithsonian, and all the major photography magazines. Stein’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and Europe 75 one-person and over 150 group shows to date. His photographs are in more than 50 permanent collections, including The George Eastman House, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), the Denver Museum of Art, and the International Center of Photography.

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Miss Rosen’s Contribution:
Miss Rosen wrote the afterword to Harlem Street Portraits.

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Excerpt from Harlem Street Portraits:
Street photography takes the world as its stage and allows the photographer to see himself in the divine and profane aspects of daily life. The street is where we live our most public life, where we can play so many roles at the same time: native, neighbor, stranger, commuter, tourist, guide, friend, or foe. Our sense of belonging determines the masks we adopt, choosing that which makes us feel most secure, most comfortable in our own skin.

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Thus, the street photographer has a distinctive task: to penetrate the proverbial mask during a brief and fleeting moment in time when strangers meet with mutual curiosity. It is here, with the mask half on, half off, that we can see we are all so very much alike. We can look at differences as social, cultural, political constructions and go beyond what lies on the surface of life. We can look into the eyes of a stranger and see something deeper than the thousand words we might use to describe the photograph. We can see and feel the photographer reflected back at us in each person he photographs. This is mutuality at its finest.

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As a street photographer for over forty years, Harvey Stein takes the world as his stage—be it Mexico, Italy, Coney Island, or in this case, Harlem. Harlem, which lives in our consciousness as the cool crunch of the Big Apple, of the place where modern Renaissance is born. Harlem, which was annexed by New York City in just 1873 has become, over the past 140 years, the center of African American culture and society. Harlem, which stretches from river to river, incorporating the greater part of Uptown Manhattan. Harlem, which has since become a Harlem of Spanish and Black, which has seen over the past decade the in roads of gentrification after the plight of crack. Harlem, which has been revitalized and rebuilt, is a center for historical, cultural, artistic, political, and religious thought.

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Harlem: home to 400 churches as well as Malcolm Shabazz Mosque No. 7 as well as a synagogue for black Jews. Home of the Apollo Theater, the Cotton Club, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Lenox Lounge, Rucker Park, the Savoy Ballroom, El Museo Del Barrio, Strivers’ Row, Sylvia’s Soul Food, City College of New York, Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the legendary 125 Street, and all the people who have lived and loved and died in its unforgettable streets.

—Miss Rosen
Brooklyn, 2014

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A Final Word from Harvey Stein:
“Sara Rosen’s essay for my book Harlem Street Portraits is insightful and thought provoking. I worked on this project for over 20 years and in her essay, she educated me about my images and themes. She is a brilliant writer and essayist; I love reading every word she writes.  And she is a dream to work with.”

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Book cover courtesy of Schiffer Publishing
Photographs ©Harvey Stein 2013

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