Through January 21 - The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. I can't remember ever having heard of the Photo League before this show, but it's quite an introduction to the influential group. These were photographers that pushed street photography from strict documentary into something more ethereal, into art. Weegee was perhaps their most famous member, but photography fans will recognize a number of other names besides like Aaron Siskind, Consuelo Kanaga, Berenice Abbott, and Lisette Model, who explained her photographic philosophy:
The thing that shocks me and which I really try to change is the lukewarmness, the indifference, the kind of taking pictures that really doesn't matter...
I was impressed at how many women were in the League and how fearless they were about capturing their subject matter. I was also quite moved by the story of one of the League's founders, Sid Grossman, and how after the League was forced to shut down when it was declared a Communist front during the Red Scare he never quite recovered. He retired to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to take pictures of gulls. But oh what pictures of gulls. The show closes with a poignant quote from Grossman:
A photograph is as personal as a name, a fingerprint, a kiss. It concerns me intimately and passionately.