As a ten-year-old in the South Bronx, Sid Kaplan was “hypnotized -- almost addicted,” he recalls, after he first saw a print come up in the developer.
At Compo, Sid printed for some of the greatest photographers, including Philippe Halsmann, Robert Capa, Weegee, and most of the members of Magnum. In his first days at Compo, Sid worked on making prints for The Family of Man. “At the time, I didn’t realize that it was my first big show and Steichen’s last,” Sid remembers.(...) Ralph Gibson introduced Sid to Robert Frank in 1969 and Sid became Frank’s printer.
All of this printing and darkroom work has served to support his own photography, however. “I always figured that photography was best practiced as a gentleman’s hobby, like Lartigue or Stieglitz. I never wanted it to become just a job where art directors and deadlines ruled; that would make me crazy.” Printing other people’s work gave him the money to pursue his own work.
Kaplan’s subjects are The Bronx and his friends in the 1950s; roads and parks and people of New York in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s and ‘90s, plus 20 years’ worth of images from one Mummer’s club in Philadelphia; the highways of America as seen from the window of a speeding car; and the disappearing Jewish and Eastern European culture of New York’s Lower East Side.