Harold Feinstein was born in Coney Island in 1931. When he passed away in 2015, the New York Times declared him: “One of the most accomplished recorders of the American experience.”
He began his career in photography in 1946 at the age of 15 and within four short years, Edward Steichen, an early supporter, had purchased his work for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). He joined the Photo League at 17 and became a prominent figure in the vanguard of the early New York City street photography scene where he exhibited at Helen Gee’s Limelight Gallery and was a designer for historic Blue Note Records. He was one of the original inhabitants of the legendary “Jazz Loft,” which he later turned over to his long-time collaborator and colleague W. Eugene Smith for whom he designed the original lay-out of the famous Pittsburgh Project. Their association prompted this statement from Smith:
He is one of the very few photographers I have known, or have been influenced by, with the ability to reveal the familiar to me in a beautifully new, in a strong and honest way.