Rebecca Lepkoff

(1916 - 2014, Townshend, Vermont)

North America, American

The daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, Rebecca Lepkoff documented tenements in New York City’s Lower East Side, the neighborhood she called home. Lepkoff purchased her first camera shortly after obtaining a degree in modern dance from the City College of New York, using money she earned performing at the 1939 World’s Fair in Queens. She married in 1941, and lived with her husband and children in a tenement on Cherry Street. Lepkoff developed her craft as a member of the Photo League, a group of socially conscious photographers including Paul Strand, Sid Grossman and Walter Rosenblum. Lepkoff’s photographs captured the shifting demographics and changing infrastructure of the Lower East Side as successive waves of immigrants settled the neighborhood. She is also known for her photographs of residents of rural Vermont from the 1950s and 1970s. Her work is in many public collections, including the National Gallery in Canada, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

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