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The Street Photographer

Lawrence Bush
December 5, 2017

Arthur Leipzig, one of the last of a generation of socially conscious photographers best known for photographing everyday life on the streets of New York, died at 96 on this date in 2014. Trained at the leftwing Photo League in New York, Leipzig said that "his goal was to capture people — their personalities, problems and potential — at a particular moment in the rush of time," according to Douglas Martin in the New York Times. Leipzig's photographs are in the permanent collections of MoMA, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, and were displayed in some two dozen one-person exhibitions as well as numerous publications. From 1968 to 1991, he was an art professor at C. W. Post College. His 1943 photograph, “King of the Hill,” showing two Brooklyn boys in a confrontation on the top of a mound of dirt, was chosen by Edward Steichen for the “Family of Man” exhibition of 1955.

"We believed in hope." —Arthur Leipzig

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.