“Martin Elkort: Optimism and Innocence”

Martin Elkort changed the world of photography. Best known for his work capturing New York City street scenes during the 1940s and ’50s, Elkort would shoot unsuspecting subjects in natural settings — families enjoying a day at Coney Island, Hasidic Jewish children playing, sidewalk performers, lovers kissing in front of shops — without the people knowing they’d been photographed. Elkort’s “stealth photography,” as he called it, gave birth to modern street photography. “Martin Elkort: Optimism and Innocence,” a one-man exhibit of the now 85-year-old Elkort’s work, is on display at the Catherine Couturier Gallery.

The exhibit is paired with a world premiere of the video biography Martin Elkort: An American Mirror. Both events are coordinated by Elkort’s daughter, the Houston-based filmmaker Stefani Twyford, who made the documentary. “My father was part of a shift in American photography that gave rise to a close observation of human interaction now known as street photography,” she says via press materials. “I wanted to profile his unique body of work, and hopefully give a greater understanding of his and his peers’ influence on modern photography.”

There’s an opening reception 6 to 8 p.m. May 3. Regular viewing hours for the exhibit are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays. Through May 31. The Catherine Couturier Gallery, 2635 Colquitt. For information, call 713-524-5070 or visit catherinecouturier.com. Free.

The film screens at 5 p.m. May 18. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org. $9.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: May 3. Continues through May 31, 2014

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero