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New York By Forss

DATES December 13, 1984 through February 24, 1985
  • November 30, 1984 New York By Forss: The Photographs of a Street Peddler, an exhibition of twenty-five photographs by George Forss, will open at The Brooklyn Museum on December 13 and be on view through February 14, 1985.

    George Forss, photographer and street peddler, began working as a self-taught photographer in 1975 after spending the greater part of his life as a coffee vendor, Good Humor man, construction worker, assembly line worker and as a Linotype operator.

    By his own confession he decided in 1975 to “pursue my dream and become a full-time professional art photographer.” Since he couldn’t afford a car he rode his bike all over the city carrying heavy photographic equipment to scout out locations for his work. He would return home at night to develop the film and “hit the street again as a peddler to sell my work for as little as $4 a print.”

    Using German lenses, an Exacta, an Alpha, a Canon and a home-made box camera, he managed to capture New York City at its most beautiful moments. In the winter of 1980 his photographs were discovered by the photographer David Douglas Duncan who was so overwhelmed by the quality of the pictures that at first, he mistook them for the work of Ansel Adams, but, as Duncan said, “Ansel never shot New York! So who’s the photographer?” He showed the prints he bought to Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstadt, Ernest Haas, Yousuf Karsh, Gjon Milli, and Gordon Parks, all of whom were wildly enthusiastic.

    To quote George about his photographs, he says: “I feel I have brought back a classical style to the world of black and white art photography. I believe in beautiful things and I feel through my art I am capturing beauty in my camera lens.” And indeed, he has.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1984, 049.
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