Jerome Liebling (1924-2011) grew up Brooklyn, New York, a first-generation son of Jewish immigrants from Europe. His father supported the family as a waiter. During World War II, Liebling served in the 82nd Airborne – surviving eight major offensives in the notoriously deadly glider infantry. Liebling enlisted to fight for a cause he believed in but returned from military service with a staunch anti-war sentiment that endured his entire lifetime. Back home in 1946, he enrolled at Brooklyn College under the G.I. Bill, studying design with the painter Ad Reinhardt and photography with Walter Rosenblum.
In 1947, Liebling joined the Photo League, a socially minded photographers’ cooperative, where, along with Paul Strand, W. Eugene Smith, Lisette Model and Aaron Siskind, he took to the streets of NYC to focus his lens on hidden corners of urban life. But perhaps the most edifying tenets of his creative vision were born on the depression-era streets of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Growing up a child of the Depression formed an impulse throughout his career, Liebling said, to “figure out where the pain was, to show things that people wouldn’t see unless I was showing them