About the Photographer
My eyes search for people who are grateful for life, people who forgive and whose doubts have been removed, who understand the truth, whose enduring spirit is bathed by such piercing white light as to provide their present and future with hope.
— Louis Faurer, October 2, 1979
Louis Faurer is best known for gritty but humane pictures of everyday people in the street, particularly those made in the 1940s and 1950s in New York's Times Square. As Faurer recounted thirty years later, "1946 to 1951 were important years. I photographed almost daily and the hypnotic dusk light led me to Times Square. Several nights of photographing in that area and developing and printing in Robert Frank's darkroom became a way of life." One of those Times Square images is NY, NY (twins), first published in Flair magazine's 1950 September issue. It is one of two pictures Faurer made of female twins in downtown New York; the other, 1948's aptly titled Twin Sisters, New York, shows a pair of women in matching shirts and horn-rimmed glasses.
Louis Fourer was born on August 28, 1916 in Philadelphia. "Faurer," a misspelling of his last name at school, became legal by the time he graduated. He attended Philadelphia's School of Commercial Art and Lettering from 1937 to 1940. Faurer started photographing in Philadelphia when he bought first camera in 1937. Winning a weekly photography contest in the Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger a few months later convinced him to pursue photography as a career. He served as a civilian photographic technician for the U. S. Army Signal Corps in Philadelphia during World War II. With the help of Lillian Bassman, Faurer embarked on a career as a fashion photographer, publishing his first fashion photo in a 1948 issue of Junior Bazaar. He continued to shoot fashion into the 1960s, working for Flair, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar, Look, Mademoiselle, Marie-Claire, Seventeen, and Vogue. Edward Steichen included Faurer's photographs in the exhibitions In and Out of Focus: A Survey of Today's Photography (1948) and Family of Man (1955) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (a portrait of Faurer by Robert Frank was also part of Family of Man). The first solo show of his personal work was held in 1959 at Helen Gee's Limelight Gallery in New York.
Faurer sometimes filmed in New York when he went out shooting, and during 1960 worked as a movie stills photographer in Hollywood. Looking for a change of pace, he spent several years working in France before returning permanently to the U. S. in 1975. Faurer won National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1978, 1981, and 1982, as well as a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1979. His work is held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson; George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York; J. Paul Getty Museum of Art, Los Angeles; International Center of Photography, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Philadelphia Museum of Art; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A traffic accident in 1984 caused injuries that ended his shooting career. Faurer died in Manhattan on March 2, 2001.