Press Release: Paul Kessel’s The Last Stop At Umbrella Arts Gallery

Press Release: Paul Kessel’s The Last Stop At Umbrella Arts Gallery

Paul Kessel's The Last Stop At Umbrella Arts Gallery

Umbrella Arts Gallery in New York City’s East Village is about to unveil it’s second solo exhibition with Paul Kessel, who was named one of Lens Culture’s Top 100 Street Photographers 2016!

The Last Stop: Photographs of Coney Island, is the latest exhibition from Kessel, who’s True Believer series was featured in Popular Photography’s June 2016 issue. The exhibition is curated by Harvey Stein, Director of Photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery, award winning photographer and instructor at the International Center of Photography. Stein selected over 24 images for the exhibition covering several years of Kessel roving the storied boardwalk of Coney Island. 

Kessel has worked all his life as a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and university teacher. However, just before his 70th birthday in 2008, he began taking classes at the International Center of Photography. The native Manhattanite has been pursuing his passion for street non-stop from that point on. Since 2011 Kessel has been a street photographer with over 20 group exhibitions, winning numerous awards. Kessel’s current exhibits include: winner of Juror’s choice PH21 Gallery, Budapest; group exhibit and publication South x Southeast Photo Gallery and Magazine, Georgia; Portals on PhotoPlaceGallery and recently Aviary curated by Paula Tognarelli, Director of The Griffin Museum, MA.  

“With camera in hand, Kessel spends about five hours daily traveling the streets of New York City in search of images. Sometimes it happens randomly, other times he will stake out an area that has the right elements of close proximity, multiple layers and captivating lighting. That moment when the elements align with a subtle context, he intuitively takes the shot. Kessel’s photographs often invite the viewer to engage in the experience of the image,”

says Umbrella Arts in their exhibition announcement.

“I consider street photography a sport and not so much art. I am constantly longing for the big catch, the home run, the great round of golf. I know it is out there. Every day I want to get it. I almost never do but that desire keeps me going,”

said Kessel in an interview on his site, Looking at Kessel’s galleries on his site proves the photographer wrong: he’s hit quite a few home runs in his short “career” shooting street!

Paul Kessel's The Last Stop At Umbrella Arts Gallery

Kessel brings high praise from some renowned photographers as well. Jack Simon, street photographer and member of Burn My Eye Collective, has said,

“Paul manages in his Coney Island photographs to capture spontaneous moments within an elegant composition that often provide the viewer with the emotional experiences of the subjects.”

Jeff Mermelstein said,

“Paul Kessel’s compassionate, dogged pursuit of his voice as a street photographer gives me great joy as I see sparks of clarity and beauty emerge.”

Elizabeth Avedon, Independent curator and correspondent for L’oeil de la Photographie, said,

“Paul Kessel, one of my favorite street photographers, chronicles situations that otherwise would be familiar scenes, bringing the viewer into the drama unfolding through his unique framing.  His work reminds me just what I think photography is all about.”

Street photographer Michelle Rick sums up Kessel’s Coney Island work simply and accurately,

“Paul has a gift for photographing those magic Coney Island moments when energy, idiosyncrasy, and beauty collide.”

The Last Stop: Photographs of Coney Island opens Thursday, September 7 with a reception from 6-8 PM. The exhibition runs through September 30th. Umbrella Arts is located at 317 East 9th St, New York City and the hours are Thursday – Saturday, 1-6pm & by appointment.

Interesting links


Cover picture by Hendrik Braet – Street Still Life finalist



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