Harold Feinstein began his photographic career in 1946. Edward Steichen, an early supporter, had purchased his work for the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and frequently exhibited it there.
Harold Feinstein was an member of the New York Photo League, exhibited at Helen Gee's Limelight Gallery, and hung out with photographers including Helen Levitt, Weegee, Garry Winogrand, and W. Eugene Smith.
Harold is renowned for his six decade photographic love affair with Coney Island.
“I was born in Coney Island and used to say that I dropped from my mother’s womb straight into the front car of the Cyclone roller coaster! A nickel would get me a ride on the trolley to Coney Island and for the rest of the day I’d use up my quarter on rides, attractions, and plenty of sweet treats. I’d earn a little more to spend by drawing portraits on the boardwalk and having spent every last nickel, hitch a ride on the back of the trolley home again.
But watching was always my favorite pastime. Over the years, the face of Coney Island has reflected waves of immigration and shifting neighborhoods. Here Orthodox Jews, African Americans, Italians, Russians, Puerto Ricans and folks from all over the world were drawn together by the lure of the surf, sand, boardwalks, side-shows, Nathan’s hot dogs, and the permission to leave go of all inhibitions.
It is America’s playground for the working class — classic Americana exuding the spirit of generosity and common humanity that is the best of the American spirit. These photographs span six decades and show that no matter what changes occur, Coney Island is always magical.
In 1995 ABC Nightline did a special on Coney Island’s 100th birthday and featuredmy work in their program.”
All images © Harold Feinstein