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February 24, 2010                           
Boston Public Library,,

Boston Public Library Exhibition Captures Boston Neighborhoods of 1950s, 1960s

Man in the Street: Jules Aarons Photographs Boston, 1947-1976

BOSTON – February 24, 2010 – Boston neighborhoods figure prominently in a new photography exhibition now open at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. Man in the Street: Jules Aarons Photographs Boston, 1947-1976 features the black and white photography of Jules Aarons (1921-2008) from the years he spent capturing images of Boston.


Death of a Ferry, Jules Aaron


The North End, West End, and South Boston neighborhoods from the 1950s and 1960s are on display in photographs of young girls sharing a story, teenagers hanging on a street corner, and women talking to their neighbors. Some are gripping images of Boston’s past like the long-gone penny ferry from East Boston, or sites that remain familiar today like a game of pick-up basketball in the South End.

“This exhibition demonstrates the connection Jules Aaron had with Boston neighborhoods and the people who lived in them,” said Aaron Schmidt, curator of the exhibition. “Jules Aarons was a true street photographer in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Helen Levitt. He found visual inspiration in the juxtaposition of people against their urban background.”

The exhibit, Man in the Street: Jules Aarons Photographs Boston, 1947-1976 is on display in the Wiggin Gallery at the Central Library in Copley Square through June 4.

Photography started as a hobby for Jules Aarons, a very successful engineer and physicist who helped develop, among other things, GPS technology. When he began photographing seriously in 1947, he chose the streets and neighborhoods of Boston as his subject.  He was drawn to the way people in the neighborhoods lived their public lives and the energy with which they talked, played, and worked. He brought to his photographs a technical mastery, artful eye and, most importantly, a deep understanding of the neighborhoods of Boston and the people who lived there.

In 1997, the Boston Public Library began collecting the work of Jules Aarons. The BPL now holds the largest public collection of his work. The Print Department at the library has made it its mission to collect the work of artists with ties to the Boston area. Jules Aarons is one of many important artists whose work is represented in the growing collection. 

The exhibit is on display in the BPL’s Wiggin Gallery at the Central Library in Copley Square Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 9-5; Tuesday, Thursday, 9-7; and Sunday, 1-5.

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For more than 160 years, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library was the first publicly supported municipal library in America, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Today, the Boston Public Library boasts a Central Library, 26 neighborhood branches, free wireless internet access, two unique restaurants, and a robust web site. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts nearly 12,000 programs, answers more than one million reference questions, and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibits are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning.  |  |


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Gina Perille
| Communications Manager
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
617.859.2273 office

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