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Documenting the Charismatic Streets of Post-War New York

An exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York revisits Todd Webb’s fond lens on Manhattan.
relates to Documenting the Charismatic Streets of Post-War New York
Courtesy of Todd Webb Archive

New York City, teeming with action and iconic architecture, has often played the role of a photographer’s muse. Post-war photographer Todd Webb was not immune to its charm.

Freshly discharged from the Navy after World War II, Webb landed in New York, and his love of the city fueled his career as a full-time photographer. His images show the city in black and white and playfully juxtapose a formal aesthetic view with delightful snapshots of daily life in New York. The photos hold the city still: there are wide-angle shots of a smoky Midtown, a train speeding through Harlem, and sharply dressed urban dwellers that ground the work in a strong sense of place and neighborhood.