Saturday, 15 March 2014

Harlem Street Portraits Review

Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Harvey Stein

Essays By
Herb Boyd
Miss Rosen

Published By
Schiffer Publishing

Photography, Art


Well-known New York photographer Harvey Stein documents the humanity and spirit of the people of Harlem in 166 beautiful black and white photographs taken over 23 years, from 1990 to 2013. 

The images are mostly close-up portraits that reveal the friendliness and warmth of this 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.


As a fan of social history and photography, the idea of mixing the two with this book made me very eager to get to read this one and with good reason.

With all I have seen about Harlem and it's rich tapestry of culture and life, the idea of the renowned photographer Harvey Stein having documented the heart and soul of Harlem sounded like an absolutely fantastic one.

And you know what?

It was.  The photographs here are brilliantly taken and show a great cross section of both the culture and the people that live there now and have lived there throughout the decades.

There are a couple of very good essays here as well by Herb Boyd and Miss Rosen that really stand side by side with the gorgeous photographs.  In fact that they really put forward just how varied life is there and how rich their cultured and sometimes troubled history is and has been.

Harvey Stein, as a photographer, is a fantastic and incredibly talented man and that shows here in all it's beautiful black and white glory here.  Stein really has an eye for making what could end up just being a picture of a person on any given day but in his hands, the photographs come across as something that would look amazing in a gallery.

All  in all, if you are a fan of photography, social history or just want to see some gorgeous pictures celebrating the rich tapestry known as Harlem, then you are definitely in luck here with this  beautiful release from Schiffer Publishing.

Presentation 8/10
Informative 7/10
Recommended 8/10
Overall 23/30

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