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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

Discuss:

  • Describe how the space of the composition is divided. Where do you see vertical lines repeated?

  • Describe the facial expression of the young man sitting at the left of the image.

  • Why might the photographer have chosen to capture the main action of the scene in the reflection of the mirrored wall rather than snapping an image of it directly?
    [The cops may have stopped him from doing so; it better evokes the sense of stumbling upon action in the city; it gives a broader sense of the setting this way; it allows you to simultaneously see people’s reactions/non-reactions, etc.]

  • What do you imagine may have happened just before this photograph was taken? What do you think might happen next?