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Leon Levinstein, American, (1910–1988)
Four elderly people with young girl at beach, Gelatin silver print on paper
13 x 10 in. (33 x 25.4 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Period: Contemporary 1946-present
Credit Line: Gift of Geoffrey West
Accession Number: 2014.23.9

In the Photography Annual of 1955, Levinstein said, “In my photographs I want to look at life – at the commonplace things as if I just turned a corner and ran into them for the first time.”

Levinstein’s subjects are celebrated for their existence. His pictures often use unflattering angles and close ups, but they retain a sense of affection for the subject. Nothing is sugar coated or refined—the elderly are shown as they are, sturdy but worn down by life. The extreme camera angles serve to reinforce the differences between the old and the young. The girl, tilted upwards, has years stretching in front of her; in contrast, the elders are on a steep course downward, close to the end of their lives. The elders are also awake, while the girl is asleep. Awake, the elders are aware of their past and approaching end while the girl slumbers on, oblivious to the passing of time.

Allegra Cox, SCR 2018

artist stamp verso

gelatin silver print on paper

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