While I donʼt typically endorse “stalking”, it is because of the dogged determination of two former co-workers, both avowed lovers of photography, that we have the upcoming Harold Feinstein / A Retrospective exhibit to look forward to. It opens September 14th at the Panopticon Gallery in Kenmore Square and will coincide with the launch of his book of classic black and white photographs published by Nazraeli Press.
This exhibit, which spans close to fifty years of Feinsteinʼs career, will feature images from the boardwalk at Coney Island, shot when he was still a teenager in the 1950ʼs, as well as photos he took during his tour of duty in Korea. I had the recent pleasure of meeting Panopticon director and owner, Jason Landry along with his friend, Jim Fitts, a photographer, photo collector and former ad man. They recounted for me, with giddy excitement, the story of how this much anticipated exhibit came to be.
The Journey began in 2008 when Jim was leafing through Black & White Magazine and first came upon Haroldʼs early work. Despite Feinstein being a photographer of some reknown “back in the day”, he had been keeping a low profile in the more recent years. Because of this, stumbling upon his beautiful earlier work felt akin to discovering buried treasure. Fitts brought these images to the attention of his then Photographic Resource Center co-worker, Landry and the two decided to “track down” Harold with the purpose being to set up an interview.
Through research and investigation, not quite of the stalking caliber and no doubt much easier with the help of the internet, Jim discovered the native New Yorker was now living in Massachusetts. He reached out old school style by writing him a letter, which led to Haroldʼs phone call in response. The three met at Haroldʼs home and a mutual admiration society was born.
Following the interview, which was published in June, 2009 in Big, Red and Shiny, Landry and Fitts took on the task of trying to find a local gallery to showcase this early work of Harold Feinstein. They also hoped to find a publisher willing to produce a book of his images.
Securing a gallery proved much easier than publishing a book. The lack of interest from publishers led the determined duo to look into launching a Kickstarter project. Kickstarter, a popular on-line method for fundraising turned out to be a huge success for Landry and Fitts allowing them to raise $40,450.00 in just 60 days! As a result, they were able to self produce a 108 page book, including 80 duotone plates of Harold Feinsteinʼs beloved images.
So after 4 years of hard work, and dedication, (with no restraining orders ever taken out) Jason Landry and Jim Fitts have fulfilled their mission and look forward to introducing the now 81 year-old Harold Feinstein to a Boston audience eager to meet the master. He will be in house at the opening reception, September 14th from 5:30 – 7:30 where a limited edition of his book will also be available.
Harold Feinstein / A Retrospective will be on display at Panopticon Gallery, 502c Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. September 14 – October 30, 2012.
By Tracy Aiguier/ www.tracyaiguier.com
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