Photography by Leonard McCombe: America

Through July 14, 2024

              Gallery open daily from noon to 4 pm

              Reception: Saturday, June 22 from 5 – 7 pm


Where: Southampton Cultural Center’s Levitas Center for the Arts

              25 Pond Lane, Village of Southampton

Tickets: the exhibition is open to the public at no charge


Leonard McCombe grew up in rural isolation on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. At 14, he contracted Scarlet Fever and had to drop out of high school. While he recovered, he took up painting, then photography. At 16, he sold pictures of a local fire to the London Daily Express. By the time he turned 18 in 1941, he was a full-fledged war correspondent. At 21 he covered the great Allied breakout from Normandy and became the youngest Fellow ever elected to the Royal Photographic Society.1 His images of “displaced persons,” a term he first coined to describe German refugees from Eastern Europe, earned him an invitation to New York to work at LIFE Magazine. From 1946 through the last issue of LIFE in 1973, McCombe documented world history through visual storytelling. His 1948 and1949 images of the American Cowboy and the Navajo Reservation were published as books in 1951. He chronicled every aspect of life in America, including midwestern towns, industrial life, politics, and immigrant New York. In 1953, Leonard received a “registered letter that filled him with deep pride. It was the letter which certified that McCombe . . . was now a citizen of the Unites States of America. . . His American pictures. . . show his day to day. . . punctuating his progress from loneliness. . . when, at age 23, he arrived in New York . . . to his period of discovery. . . to the time when he finally felt he belonged here.”2

“I have now learned to form more or less an opinion, to weed out and to stress the significant things in life

and make stories more personal and alive.”1


O: 631-287-4377

25 Pond Lane | PO Box 5008

Southampton, NY 11968



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