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Shoeshine Boy with Cop, 14th Street, New York

Morris Engel (American, 1918-2005)

Shoeshine Boy with Cop, 14th Street, New York, 1947

  • Gelatin silver print
  • 13 5/16 x 10 3/8 in. (33.8 x 26.4 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Photography Acquisitions Committee Fund, 2000-63

Not on view

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Shoeshine Boy with Cop, 14th Street, New York

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Shoeshine Boy with Cop, 14th Street, New York

On first looking at this image, the viewer may find it disorienting. The main action of the scene is visible in the reflection of a mirror on a building. Two police officers are engaged in conversation with a shoeshine boy under the overhang of a theater marquee. This scene, as well as the text on the sign and banners, is seen in reverse in the mirror. The two additional figures seen at the left of the image (not in the reflection) are facing the action (which is actually unfolding behind the photographer). One of these figures appears to have been caught mid-blink with his eyes closed; the other looks sidelong at the police and the boy. At the photograph’s far right, a curved window reflects windows of other buildings.