Leon Levinstein: The Indiscriminate Eye

Fans in a Flashbulb

When learning about the work of a new photographer, more often than not I have some piece of biography that helps me place the photographs in context. In the case of Leon Levinstein, I got to know him through working in ICP’s collection, looking through all of the approximately 200 prints in the archive. Diving into a body of work before moving into biographical details allowed for an intimate meeting with a warm visual storyteller.

New York–based photographer Leon Levinstein was genuinely interested in individuals—in strangers—going about their everyday business. His photographs capture lived life that transgress generations, skin color, and economic status and cover the multitude of people roaming the streets.

His photographs demonstrate a visual curiosity, and a deep desire to depict a segment of the world typically unseen, or even deliberately overlooked. The poor, the deprived, the dirty, the drunk, the happy, the sad, he collects…

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