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2012-05-25 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


May 25, 2012  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Museum exhibit puts focus on NY photojournalist’s career

The Beatles, 1964 The Beatles, 1964 A collection of New York photojournalist Mel Finkelstein’s award-winning photographs taken from the 1950s to the 1980s is currently on display at the Jewish Museum of Florida in Miami Beach.

The exhibit, Mel Finkelstein: Picturing the Man Behind the Camera, opened May 22 and will remain on display through Oct. 14.

Until his death at age 60 as the photo editor at the New York Post, Finkelstein photographed countless celebrities and famous performers. The exhibit focuses on iconic symbols from our cultural past and is full of candid pictures of the Beatles, John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, President Truman, Sylvester Stallone and more.

Finkelstein wasn’t only interested in the rich and powerful, he took equal interest in average citizens of New York and their personal stories. From Civil Rights riots to makeshift tennis courts, Finkelstein photographed it all.

Photographer Mel Finkelstein with actress Kim Novak in 1960. Photographer Mel Finkelstein with actress Kim Novak in 1960. Born in 1932, Finkelstein began his career by working for the Journal-American when he was a 16-year-old high school student. Finkelstein stayed with the paper through its merger into the World-Journal-Tribune, which ceased operations in 1967. Finkelstein then went to the Daily News, where he worked for 20 years. He joined The New York Post in 1988, where he stayed until his death in 1992.

Finkelstein was noted for the way he “played the hunch.” His gut feeling often led to an impressive photograph. For example, Finkelstein was once in a burning building, rushing to the 15th floor to snap some pictures of people being rescued. He ended up on the 14th floor, where he was able to take a photo of a startled woman leaving her room. That picture of Kim Novak made the front page of the Daily News the next day. As he later said, “The right spot at the right time. That’s what this business is all about. Sometimes you stay in one spot and other times you play hunches and you would cruise.”

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, excluding civil and Jewish holidays. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $12 for families and free for members and children under $6. Saturdays are also free. The museum is located at 301 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach 33139. For more information call (305) 672-5044 or

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