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Art

The Lost Photographs Of Isaac Bashevis Singer

Editor’s Note

In the summer of 2016, the Brooklyn Historical Society’s exhibit “Truman Capote’s Brooklyn” brought new attention to the late photographer David Attie. Attie, who died in 1982, was perhaps best known for his portraits of such luminaries as Capote, Lorraine Hansberry, Leonard Bernstein, Bobby Fischer and Ralph Ellison.

Attie had been a commercial illustrator in the 1950s — working on advertisement and book cover designs — before he made the switch to photography.

Recently, Attie’s son Eli — a TV writer and former Washington speechwriter who wrote for “The West Wing” and worked for Al Gore — discovered a trove of unpublished photos of Isaac Bashevis Singer. The photos, which feature Singer on the Lower East Side and, in one case, in front of a Forward delivery truck, were taken in 1968 for Amerika (aka America Illustrated), a U.S. government publication distributed in the former Soviet Union. To our knowledge, most of these photographs have never been published before.

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