Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Jeff Mermelstein: Street Photographer and Artist

Who is Jeff Mermelstein? Some who accidentally notice him in the street with his Leica lense might think he is a tourist and yet others might even think of him as an invader of their privacy. The fact is though that Jeff Mermelstein is a street photographer, and definitely a passionate one. He takes pictures of anything that catches his eye, whether it is fruits and vegetables, animals, or people. Vivid color is his main criteria, and this makes his photographs absolutely ravishing.
Mermelstein’s style is a fairly simple one, but with a little twist, and this is why it turns out to be very effective. He believes in the “depiction of the real world” in his photos. This is why we can see so many “real world” scenarios in his pictures. However, they are always somewhat bizarre and surreal as opposed to completely realistic. In his “Sidewalk” compilation for example, he photographs random people in the street, but there is always something bizarre either about their posture or their actions in the photo. For example, he has a picture of an old lady with a dollar bill clenched in her teeth, or a man with a rather big book in his teeth as well. Mermelstein is a master of sending a message and catching a “depiction of the real world” which is not so real. His pictures transcend reality and stun viewers with their rich colors.
Mermelstein is a man who loves color photos. This is evident after looking at his work and noticing how he emphasizes a wide spectrum of colors. There is never a gray or blurry picture that he captures; rather they are all always vividly colorful. For example, the picture of a very bright red cabbage on the anthracite gray asphalt, or the two yellow eggs on a bright blue railing. Color is very important to Mermelstein, and it makes his photographs stand out to the average viewer.
Jeff Mermelstein came to Baruch College to display his beautiful work to the students. During his visit, he shared his experiences of satisfaction and enjoyment behind actually developing his photos as much as taking the pictures, and filling them with bright and beautiful colors. Mermelstein is a relentless photographer who is always looking for an effective image. It is his passion for taking pictures and his unique style that makes him such an exceptional photographer.