Rebecca Lepkoff

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Rebecca Lepkoff (August 4, 1916 – August 17, 2014)[1][2] was an American photographer. In the 1940s, she photographed street scenes on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.


Born in 1916, Rebecca Lepkoff grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.[3] Working as a dancer at the 1939 World's Fair, she saved enough money to buy a second-hand Borlander camera. Fascinated by the area where she lived, she first photographed Essex and Hester Streets which, she recalls, "were full of pushcarts." They no longer exist today but then "everyone was outside: the mothers with their baby carriages, and the men just hanging out." Her photographs captured people in the streets, especially children, as well as the buildings and the signs on store fronts.[4]

In 1950, she also photographed people at work and play in Vermont. The images were used to illustrate the book Almost Utopia: The Residents and Radicals of Pikes Falls, Vermont, 1950, published by the Vermont Historical Society. They present the area before its character was changed with paved roads and vacationers.[5] In the 1970s, she photographed the next generation of inhabitants in a series she called Vermont Hippies.[6]

Rebecca Lepkoff was an active member of the Photo League from 1947 until 1951 when it was dissolved as a "communist organization" in the McCarthy era.[4][7]

Published works[edit]

  • Dans, Peter; Wasserman, Suzanne (2006). Life on the Lower East Side: Photographs by Rebecca Lepkoff, 1937-1950. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-56898-606-7.
  • Lepkoff, Rebecca (May 2008). Almost Utopia: Residents and Radicals of Pikes Falls, Vermont 1950. Vermont Historical Society. ISBN 978-0-934720-54-0.


  1. ^ "Documentary photographer Rebecca Lepkoff dies at 98"
  2. ^ "United States Public Records Index". Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Rebecca Lepkoff". Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b Nicole Lyn Pesce, "96-year-old photographer Rebecca Lepkoff brings the lower East Side back into focus", Daily News, 18 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Rebecca Lepkoff's Photos: "Residents & Radicals" in Vermont, 1950", Gallery Walk. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Vermont Hippies", Vermont Center for Photography. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
  7. ^ Where do we go from here?", New York Public Library. Retrieved 31 March 2013.

External links[edit]