Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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David Douglas Duncan


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Follow link for an enlarged imageNew York/New York: Masterwork of a Street Peddler (1984) / view images from this book

From the book jacket text:
George Forss was born in the South Bronx. He lives in Brooklyn where he cares for an invalid mother and others of his family by selling photographs of New York on the sidewalk. His father was a thief. Forss and all of his five brothers and sisters were reared in welfare homes. Some of his best lenses and cameras were found in pawnshops. This is the first book of his photographs, which has been printed by Imprimeries Réunies of Lausanne, Switzerland, one of the finest presses in the world. Binding is by Van Rijmenam of The Hague, craftsmen with the expertise to solve the numerous technical problems that always arise with "art" books of almost continuous single-photograph, double-page layouts.

David Douglas Duncan, born in Kansas City, Missouri, was a Marine combat photographer during World War II, and then with Life magazine. He now lives in southern France.

Duncan met Forss on the streets of midtown Manhattan where he was peddling prints. They are both self-taught photographers. Forss still sells on the sidewalk, where today Duncan visits him during trips to New York en route everywhere. They are both nomads, who roam totally different worlds.

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“Forss’ talents are special — he captures New York, after all. I hope his book is as successful as a fine evening over our harbor.”
— Norman Mailer

“Undoubtedly, this book will motivate other aspiring photographers to seek new plateaus of expression. Once again, David Douglas Duncan has uncovered a treasure.”
— Gilbert M. Grosvenor, President, National Geographic Society