Coney Island is an American icon celebrated worldwide, a fantasy land of the past with an evolving present and an irrepressible optimism about its future. It is a democratic entertainment where people of all walks of life and places are brought together. There isn’t anywhere else like it, and that is much of its appeal. Here 170 evocative black-and-white images taken by eminent photographer Harvey Stein from 1970 through 2020 simultaneously look back in time while giving a current view to the people and activities of this “poor man’s Riviera.” The images capture the wonder and intimacy of Coney Island. There is no photo book that has been published that documents a 50-year time period of a famous location taken by one photographer. Being in Coney Island is like stepping into another society, rather than just experiencing a day’s entertainment.
Harvey Stein is a professional photographer, teacher, lecturer, author, and curator based in New York City. He currently teaches at the International Center of Photography. Stein is a frequent lecturer on photography both in the United States and abroad. He was the director of photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery, in the East Village of Manhattan, from 2009 until 2019, when it lost its lease and closed. He has also been a member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts, New School University, Drew University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and University of Bridgeport. A recipient of a Creative Arts Public Service (CAPS) fellowship and numerous artist-in-residency grants, Stein’s eighth and latest book, Mexico between Life and Death, was published in fall 2018 by Kehrer Verlag (Germany). His most recent book, Then and There: Mardi Gras 1979, was published by Zatara Press in October 2020. Other books of Stein’s photographs are Parallels: A Look at Twins (E. P. Dutton, 1978); Artists Observed (Harry Abrams, 1986); Coney Island (W. W. Norton, 1998); Movimento: Glimpses of Italian Street Life (Gangemi Editore, Rome, 2006); Coney Island 40 Years (Schiffer, 2011); Harlem Street Portraits (Schiffer, 2013); and Briefly Seen New York Street Life (Schiffer, 2015). Stein’s photographs and portfolios have been published in such periodicals as the New YorkerTimeLifeEsquireAmerican HeritageSmithsonian, the New York TimesReader’s DigestGlamourGQ Magazine (Mexico), ForbesPsychology TodayPlayboyHarpersConnoisseurArt NewsAmerican ArtistNew YorkPeopleDer SpiegelDie Zeit, the Hopkins Review (cover), and Sun Magazine (cover), and all the major photo magazines, including Camera ArtsBlack & White Magazine (cover), ShutterbugPopular PhotographyAmerican PhotoCameraAfterimagePDNZoomRangefinderPhoto MetrofotoMagazine (Germany), photo techniqueZeke, and View Camera. Stein’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and Europe—89 one-person and more than 165 group shows to date. He has curated 67 exhibits since 2007. His photographs are in more than 58 permanent collections, including the George Eastman Museum; Bibliotheque Nationale; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the International Center of Photography; the Denver Museum of Art; the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh); the Portland (Oregon) Museum of Art; the Museum of the City of New York; the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art; the American Museum of Natural History; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Addison Gallery of American Art; the New-York Historical Society and Museum; and the Brooklyn Historical Society. Stein’s work is represented by Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New York City. His work can be seen on his website, www.harveysteinphoto.com, and on Instagram @stein.harvey, as well as on Facebook.


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