The short video above takes you into a brief walk-through Found: A Harold Feinstein Exhibition curated by Carrie Scott during Photo London (May 15-19, 2019). It was the first exhibition of Harold’s work in London. As part of the well-coordinated Feinstein menu for those gathered at the annual international photography festival, Andy Dunn’s masterful documentary, Last Stop Coney Island: The Life and Photography of Harold Feinstein had it’s UK premier at the renown Berta Dochouse in central London. As in New York City, it quickly SOLD OUT, prompting another eight screenings, including one up-coming on July 15th at Soho Curzon, a much larger feature film theater. Leading up to the two events, several high profile feature articles helped to inaugurate the premier events. The Guardian published a fantastic 5 page spread in the Sunday magazine followed by this wonderful interview published in the British Journal of Photography. (See other media links below).
The exhibition opening on May 14th was spectacular! Crowded, exuberant, and well attended by VIPs gathering for Photo London, collectors, media, publishers and friends. I personally decided not to take a sneak peek at the show so that I could enter the space together with the several hundred others and get the same immersive experience as those who had never before been exposed to Harold’s work! So glad I did!
Imagine first of all seeing the large sign on the outside of this contemporary, hip and edgy space, which is right next door to Somerset House where the rest of Photo London is housed! Store X at 180 Strand, is described as “a platform for ideas and culture… a new kind of experiential space.” In keeping with that mission, the immense space was brilliantly curated by Carrie, from the moment you stepped through the door all the way to the final of four huge rooms.
Stepping through the front door into a foyer leading to a spiral staircase, and the first experience was Harold’s voice speaking about his photographs (taken from his walk through of a 1988 retrospective of his work at Penn State University’s Zoller Gallery). Hanging on the walls were the yellowed typed and handwritten pages from his teaching materials with pull-out quotes stenciled on the walls — an immediate encounter with the wisdom, joy and humor of the man himself — alive in the space through his voice! Here’s an example!
You have to see people through the eyes of someone who loves them…We forget that. We have attitudes…We are no longer responding to that soul.
Down the stairs the first encounter was a large darkened room where an exclusive and customized clip from the documentary greeted the viewer before walking into the three large gallery spaces beyond.
The screening of Next Stop Coney Island at Bertha Dochouse on the 15th was followed by a Q & A with Andy and Carrie and then a party back at the gallery! Once again, the press reviews issued high praise for the film!
…[A] loving portrait of a remarkable man…well worth seeking out by anyone with an interest in the history of photography….[T]his is a worthwhile documentary to set alongside recent portraits of Vivian Maier, Robert Frank and Gordon Parks.
In putting the deserved spotlight on one of the most under-stated masters of American photography, Dunn shines a light on life itself… This is a masterful film from Dunn about one of America’s greatest photographers. A legend who we can all learn from.
Finally, in addition to the exhibition and film premieres, on May 13th Carrie introduced an audience of photography collectors to Harold’s work as part of Sotheby’s panel about photography collecting moderated by Bradei Estes, Sotheby’s head of photographs and sponsored by Citi Private Bank. Joining her were Michael Benson, the co-founding Director of Photo London, Brett Rogers, Director of the Photographer’s Gallery and Giles Huxley-Parlour, Director of the Huxley-Parlour Gallery. In this context Carrie offered a the gathered group a summary of how she discovered Harold’s work, his place in the history of photography, the aura of his hand-printed photographs and how they all fit together to meet today’s trends in the market.
Brandei Esteis: “What I love about your show is that it’s in this crazy, big beautiful building next to Somerset House [and while others exhibiting next door have a lot of big names], you have someone no one has ever heard of!”
Carrie: “This is a man who had huge success in his early years. A child prodigy really in small format. At one point he walked away from New York scene to focus on being an artist and a teacher. My exhibition is about giving voice to this man and celebrating his body of work which is this wonderfully optimistic, free, happy work. Even in the era that he was working…this is a man who was living life and loving life and literally could look at anything and find beauty…and he does it in this tiny little box…very seductive and beautiful.