Photos of the Cinema-Going Experience Capture the Magic of Movies in Miniature

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Following news of New York City’s iconic Ziegfeld movie theater shutting its doors after 46 years, Richard Finkelstein’s exhibition Sitting in the Dark with Strangers takes on a new resonance. On view at the Robert Mann Gallery through January 30, Finkelstein’s photos are constructed from meticulous sets with miniature figurines, capturing the cinema-going experience.

The Edward Hopper-esque images are a treat for eagle-eyed cinéastes, as Finkelstein references classic films in every detail, down to the posters on the wall. The act of seeing and watching is emphasized between audience and screen, as well as between figures. “Through his work, Finkelstein not only comments on how movies impact our emotions, but how like a dream, a film allows a viewer to give up the appearance of reality to that which is unreal,” writes the gallery.

Theaters like the Ziegfeld are disappearing, but Finkelstein’s photos remind us that the films live on within.

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

©Richard Finkelstein, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery