“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

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