Harvey Finkle: A Legend Amongst Us

Portrait of photojournalist Harvey Finkle of Philadelphia
Harvey Finkle. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Photography and Text by Tony Ward,  Copyright 2022

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Harvey Finkle: A Legend Amongst Us

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I first met Harvey Finkle at The Bean coffee shop on South Street in Philadelphia in the early 1990’s. At that time this particular coffee shop located on the North side of the 600 block of South street was a fixture for artists, photographers, writers and hard core coffee drinkers.

Each morning at around 7:30am a group of friends that lived in the neighborhood assembled to talk shop. The group included Harvey Finkle, Zoey Strauss, Robert Asman, Ed Simmons, Sam Binder, Pat King, Gary McQuitty and others usually sat outside the bean where we drank java and watched the eclectic mix of passersby the neighborhood was famous for.

Harvey and I lived a block a way from each other in Bella Vista, a neighborhood known in Philadelphia for housing a variety of artisans. The proximity to Harvey provided us an opportunity to see each other around the neighborhood and spend time together. I became a regular guest at his exhibitions and he came out to support mine as well. Over the years, we became really good friends. You knew you were in Harvey’s good graces when he invited you down to his shore house or over to watch Monday Night Football with his life long friends.

His 5o years of photographic work is a testament of his compassion for the disadvantaged and downtrodden. His early years working as a sociologist sharpened his cameras eye on immigrant communities as well as political and social activism. 

In recent years Harvey unfortunately started to lose his vision.  A cruel twist of fate given his profession. He’s taken it in stride, by recently donating his collection of photographic archives to his alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania where future generations will learn about the legend that lives amongst us.

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To learn more about Harvey Finkle’s photographic work, link herehttp://www.harveyfinkle.com

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