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"Photographs By Martin Elkort"
2002-03-16 until 2002-04-28
fototeka
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

From 1946 to 1956 Martin Elkort wandered the streets of New York City photographing people in the business of living their lives. With a twin lens reflex camera many subjects never noticed, he captured tradespeople, shoppers and shopkeepers, garment workers, mailmen and members of social clubs. His New York photographs include a series of Manhattan street life, Coney Island leisure seekers and concentration camp survivors being trained in the needle trades at the ORT school (Organization for Rehabilitation and Training).

In ElkortÝs New York, people and their surroundings ˝ the streets, buildings and signage -- seem to belong to the same organic entity. He not only shows us the vitality and drama of the city, he clearly is an element of it. The people in his images may have been unaware they were being photographed, but somehow they seem to be in the room with the viewer, looking us over or leaning close, crackling with life.

An avowed humanist, Elkort says of his work: Happiness is as deep, as resonant, as valid a theme as misery, war, and poverty. Joy, however, is harder to photograph. Misery is more obvious; on the surface, it seems more profound. My pictures often seek out the joy of living. ElkortÝs definition of joy conceders a complex range of emotions, rising out of the actions and habits of everyday life that affirm our existence.


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