Artist: Louis Faurer (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1916–2001 New York)
Medium: Gelatin silver print
Dimensions: 23.1 x 31.6 cm (9 1/16 x 12 7/16 in.)
Credit Line: Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1987
Accession Number: 1987.1055
Faurer was one of the best, if little known, of New York's street photographers in the 1940s and early 1950s. Working chiefly in Times Square and on 14th Street, he gathered a motley cast of unglamorous and marginal characters before his lens and juxtaposed them with the printed detritus and/or neon-flashing overload of signs in the urban environment. Here he homes in on a regular guy pausing before a window papered with information that the viewer cannot read. And though we gaze at the man seemingly undetected, the shadow over his eyes makes it unclear as to whether the camera has been spotted-lending a sense of claustrophobia and mutual suspicion to the scene. Faurer was an expert at orchestrating such scenarios-in fact, the white pointed shape in the lower left corner of the image was added in the darkroom in order to focus the effect of the mood-and it was his talent for creating psychological atmosphere and resurrecting quotidian people and places from passing obscurity that made his work so influential on later generations of artists, such as Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, and Diane Arbus.