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Butterfly Boy, New York

Jerome Liebling (American, 1924-2011)

Butterfly Boy, New York, 1949

  • Gelatin silver print
  • 10 5/8 x 10 in. (27 x 25.4 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Mimi and Barry J. Alperin Fund, 2008-90
  • Digital image © 2008 The Jewish Museum, New York Photo by Ardon Bar Hama

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Butterfly Boy, New York

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Butterfly Boy, New York

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The boy at the center has lifted his arms, creating a wing-like formation with his coat—the inspiration for the photograph’s title. The steeply angled, downward-cast viewpoint of the camera lens emphasizes the child’s small size and reinforces an adult-child dynamic, with the child’s gaze looking up to meet that of the viewer/photographer. The child is on a sidewalk, and the wheel cover of a parked car is directly behind his head.