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Jewish Store, Lower East Side

Andreas Feininger (American, b. France, 1906-1999)

Jewish Store, Lower East Side, 1940s

  • Gelatin silver print
  • 11 3/8 x 9 3/8 in. (28.9 x 23.8 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Jack and Judy Stern, 1998-88
  • © Estate of Andreas Feininger, Courtesy of Bonni Benrubi Gallery, NYC

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Jewish Store, Lower East Side

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Jewish Store, Lower East Side



Andreas Feininger was born in Paris to an American family of German descent. He grew up in Berlin and studied architecture in Germany but soon realized that photography was what he really loved. Feininger, whose mother was Jewish, moved to New York in 1939, where he became known for his photos of the city. His work captures not only the architecture of the urban environment but also the dynamic relationship between the physical setting and the human experience. To Feininger, the city was a vibrant, living organism.

While photographers at the turn of the 20th century, often sought to record the difficult conditions of immigrant life on the Lower East Side, the photographers of the 1930s and ’40s took a slightly different approach. They documented the full range of the neighborhood’s life, capturing ordinary people in ordinary moments. Many also looked to savor the remnants of the neighborhood’s storied Jewish culture, as the immigrants and their descendants moved to other parts of the city.

Discuss:

  • What can you tell about this shop and the man in front of it? What clues do you see?

  • What does this image make you think of?

  • Compare this image to Weegee’s photograph of the bagelman. What similarities are there in content? What differences are there in mood, composition, and the use of light and shape?

  • Do you have an emotional response to this photograph? If so, what is it? What about the photograph gives you that feeling?


Untitled (Schechter Furriers)

Simpson Kalisher (American, b. 1926)

Untitled (Schechter Furriers), 1963

  • Gelatin silver print
  • 14 1/16 x 16 7/8 in. (35.7 x 42.9 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Photography Acquisitions Committee Fund, 2005-41

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Untitled (Schechter Furriers)

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Untitled (Schechter Furriers)



Simpson Kalisher was born in 1926 in New York City, where he has worked as a freelance photographer since the late 1940s. This untitled work, like Feininger’s Jewish Store, Lower East Side, depicts a small shop somewhere in the city. There is no human figure in this scene, however—just the rectilinear geometry of the shop interior and the lettering stenciled on the window, which seems to float in space.

Discuss:

  • What does Kalisher focus on in this photograph? What can you tell about Schechter Furriers from looking at this photograph?

  • How does this work compare with the photographs by Weegee and Feininger? What connections do you see in both content and composition?

  • What do you think is the effect of not having any human figures in this photograph? How would the effect of this photo be different if it did?