Harry Lapow

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Harry Lapow (February 6, 1909—September 14, 1982) was an American photographer and graphic designer.


Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1909, Lapow took art classes while in high school and after graduation moved to New York City to work for package designer Martin Ullman. In 1941 he formed a partnership, Koodin-Lapow, with Ben Koodin, designing packaging[1] for R. H. Macys, Wamsutta Mills, Seagram, Startex[2] and Rokeach, among others.[3][4] As the business expanded they hired young Cooper Union graduates Milton Glaser, Seymour Chwast and Edward Sorel.[5]


Given a camera for his 43rd birthday in 1952, Lapow took courses with Lisette Model[6] and Sid Grossman at The New School for Social Research[7] together with his good friend, Leon Levinstein, and also studied painting with Evsa Model.


For over 25 years he took photographs of Coney Island, as both Model and Grossman did, as other significant photographers had, including Weegee.[8] One of Lapow's early photographs of an Italian wedding on the beach at Coney Island was selected by Edward Steichen for The Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, that toured the world and was seen by 9 million visitors.

He traveled widely, photographing in small fishing villages in Nova Scotia, farming and fishing communities in the Gaspé Peninsula of Québec, a Crow Nation reservation in Montana, the Magdalen Islands, Prince Edward Island, and later, in Morocco, Sardinia, and Italy.

Helen Gee gave Lapow his first exhibition at her Limelight Gallery in Greenwich Village in 1959. He also showed in group exhibitions at A Photographer's Gallery, New York, Washington, DC, Photokina in Cologne, Vu Par Cultural Center in Paris, and at Expo 67, Montreal, Canada.

In 1978 Dover Publications published a book of his Coney Island work, Coney Island Beach People[9][10][11]


  • Ongoing: The Family of Man, UNESCO Memory of the World, Steichen Collections, Clervaux Castle (LU)
  • 2018: 2 Sep – 30 Oct, New Acquisitions, Alan Klotz Gallery (US)
  • 2015/16: 20 Nov – 13 Mar, Forever Coney: Photographs from the Brooklyn Museum Collection, Brooklyn Museum of Art (US)[12]
  • 2007: 12 Jul – 28 Aug, Alida Fish, Harry Lapow, Robert Richfield, Alan Klotz Gallery (US)
  • 2002: July 11, Coney Island Beach People: photographs by Harry Lapow, Klotz/Sirmon Gallery, 511 West 25th Street, New York (US)[13]
  • 1955: 24 Jan – 8 May, The Family of Man, MoMA Museum Modern Art (US)


Fotofolio, the postcard company, distributed several Lapow images.


Daughter Marcelle Lapow Toor is the executor for Lapow's estate and maintains his archive.


  1. ^ Mason, S. (1972). "Encapsulating Magic: The Challenge of Package Design for Cosmetics". Graphis (Archive : 1944-2005), 28(164), 504-517.
  2. ^ "Packaging Switches to the Soft Sell (Printers' Ink)". (1959). Management Review, 48(7), 41.
  3. ^ Industrial Design, Volume 9, Page 26
  4. ^ Tide, Volume 31, Issues 13-24, Page 22, Tide Publishing Company, 1957
  5. ^ Art Direction, Volume 21, Page 117, Advertising Trade Publications, Incorporated, 1969
  6. ^ New Boston Review, Issues 4-5, p.213
  7. ^ Browne, Turner; Partnow, Elaine (1983), Macmillan biographical encyclopaedia of photographic artists and innovators, Macmillan; London: Collier Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-02-517500-6
  8. ^ Infinity, Volume 20, American Society of Magazine Photographers
  9. ^ Reviewed in Creative Camera, Issues 176-194, Page 64
  10. ^ "Sunshine Boys and Girls", New York Magazine, April 24, 1978, Vol. 11, No. 17. ISSN 0028-7369, New York Media, LLC
  11. ^ "Sunday Best", New York Magazine 27 Jan 1975, p.53, Vol. 8, No. 4, ISSN 0028-7369, New York Media, LLC.
  12. ^ Bortolot, L. (2015). Arts & Entertainment: Coney Island: Signs, Schooners and Spook-A-Rama. Wall Street Journal, p. A.21.
  13. ^ From New Orleans To 52nd Street.(The City Weekly Desk). (2002). The New York Times, p. 3.