History of Photography



Introduction  

History of Photography

A World History of Photography

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991

Photographers' Dictionary










 

 



Chapter 11

 

 

HARRY CALLAHAN (collection)
AARON SISKIND
MINOR WHITE
(collection)
PAUL CAPONIGRO
WYNN BULLOCK (collection)
WILLIAM A. GARNETT
JOHN GUTMANN
(collection)
LISETTE MODEL (collection)
ROBERT FRANK (collection)
WILLIAM KLEIN (collection)
DIANE ARBUS (collection)
GARRY WINOGRAND (collection)
LEE FRIEDLANDER (collection)
ELLIOTT ERWITT
WILLIAM WEGMAN
(collection)
LEWIS BALTZ
LOIS CONNER
LYNN DAVIS
RICHARD PARE
HELEN LEVITT
(collection)
ROY DECARAVA
JEROME LIEBLING
GEORGE A. TICE
BRUCE DAVIDSON
DANNY LYON
MARY ELLEN MARK
EUGENE RICHARDS
ROLAND L. FREEMAN
GORDON PARKS
(collection)
MARILYN NANCE
EARL DOTTER
DONNA FERRATO
THOMAS FREDERICK ARNDT
NICHOLAS NIXON
SALLY MANN
LARRY CLARK
 

 



PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE 1950:




THE STRAIGHT IMAGE


 

 

There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough— there has to be vision and the two together can make a good photograph. It is difficult to describe this thin line where matter ends and mind begins.

Robert Frank, 1962

 

 

IN 1850 IT WOULD HAVE BEEN unusual to meet someone who had handled a camera or looked at a photograph; 100 years later the reverse would have been true. The camera had become a ubiquitous device, its basic techniques easily mastered by even the clumsiest and least sophisticated person. By 1950, photographic images in silver, in colored dyes, and in printer's ink had penetrated all parts of the globe, through all layers of society, and had become the daily visual diet of everyone living in the urban centers of the West. In the second half of the 20th century, the photograph has been perceived as the paramount means of visual communication, attracting gifted and imaginative artists as well as commercial practitioners and amateurs, and infiltrating the art marketplace as a commodity while continuing to fulfill established roles in communications and advertising. Traditional photographic methods and materials continued to be refined throughout this period until the 1980s. Then, the discovery of ways to produce images electronically and alter them by computer relegated many aspects of conventional photography to the dustbin at the same time that it raised still-unresolved issues about authorship, copyright, and truthfulness (see A Short Technical History, Part III).

After the second World War, photographs became more pervasive than ever before, in large part due to the weekly picture magazines, which continued to be popular through the 1970s despite increasing competition from television. With their accomplished reportage, seductive advertising, and striking scientific pictures made possible by new techniques in aerial photography (pi. no. 661) and microphotography, picture journals helped prepare the way for public acceptance of a wide range of imagery— abstractions, series, color, and visual manipulations of various kinds. In the late 1960s and '70s, photographs earned greater respect as individual objects; they began to be reproduced more frequendy in book format, exhibited more often in galleries and museums, and collected with more enthusiasm by private individuals and business enterprises. As a result, their history and provenance became subjects of scholarly study; concurrendy, the widespread effect of photography on perceptions of reality and on the nature of perception itself became the stuff of intellectual speculation. During the 1980s, the photograph was seen not only as an object capable of affording information or pleasure but also as a tract on which might be inscribed (sometimes in actual words) an unmistakable social or political message.

In the years since its invention, photography had become an international medium. That photographic processes and concepts had traversed national boundaries with ease owed much to competition among industrial nations in the nineteenth century. England and France, especially, carefully monitored each other's discoveries in all scientific and industrial fields, while the similarity of life in industrial societies increasingly elicited similar kinds of pictorial documentation. However, despite the vitality of international photographic activity up through the 1930s, after World War II the wellspring of visual culture shifted temporarily to the United States as European and Far Eastern countries struggled to rebuild their shattered economies. Physically undamaged by the war and entering a period of relative economic well-being, the United States provided the conditions that photography—and, indeed, all the visual arts—needed to flourish. Eventually, publications, traveling exhibitions, and peripatetic photographers on assignment acquainted Europeans with the diverse styles of American postwar camera expression, which they enriched with ideas originating from their own cultures.

As stability returned, camera activity' in Europe, Latin America, and the Far East prospered. By the 1990s, photographs made in places as far apart as China and Eastern Europe featured ideas and modes similar to those generally prevailing in the United States and Western Europe. In Russia, for example, the medium has been transformed from government-sanctioned straight reportage to a diversity of manipulative practices that embrace postmodern themes, while Chinese photographers, long in thrall to an idealized view of their own society, have recendy adopted a more discerning, journalistic approach. In view of this historical sequence, it seems logical to discuss developments in the United States first, and in somewhat greater detail, before turning to tendencies abroad.
 

661. UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER. Mount Vesuvius, Italy,
after the Eruption of 1944, 1944.
Gelatin silver print. Imperial War Museum, London.


Postwar Trends in the United States

Using wars as demarcations of cultural eras may seem simplistic, but there is little question that a new sensibility made its appearance in the United States after World War II. As the nation began a period that was characterized (until the mid-1960s) by domestic peace, political conformism, and expansive consumerism, many in the arts began to grapple with problems of pure form, with the expression of inner visions, and with representing new perceptions of social realities. Reflecting this trend, one significant group of photographers concentrated on what have been called "private realities," drawing ideas and inspiration from a variety of sources—among them, Abstract Expressionist painting, psychoanalytic thought, Zen, and other systems of Eastern philosophy. Others were inspired by the photographic experimentalism implanted on American soil by refugees who organized the American Bauhaus as well as by the tendency of many painters to obscure the traditional line between photographic and graphic expression by mixing their media (see Chapter 12). The work of young photographers who continued to espouse straight photography also exhibited subtle changes, becoming tinged by more subjective or ironic attitudes. Alongside these new sensibilities, traditional approaches to image-making still attracted adherents, giving the medium extraordinary range and vitality.

The explosion of photographic activity in the United States stemmed in part from the scholarships given to former members of the armed forces, which enabled them to attend art schools and colleges at government expense. This education introduced many young people to photography as a way to make a living and as a means of personal expression. One such educational fountainhead was the Institute of Design in Chicago—the American incarnation of the Bauhaus—which proposed that photographers be first and foremost concerned with the expressive manipulation of light, "free from cultural indoctrination." Setting aside the social intent and Utopian ideals explicit in the original Bauhaus programs in Weimar and Dessau, the Institute advocated a "new vision" that was primarily dedicated to finding fresh, personal ways of looking at the commonplace.

Of the photographers associated with the Institute in its early days, Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind were the most influential in terms of their own work. Reflecting the school's emphasis on experimentation, Callahan used both 35mm and 8 x 10 inch formats, worked in black and white and in color, and made multiple exposures, montages, and collages. His straight images exemplify attempts to find a visual means of "revealing the subject in a new way to intensify it," as in the early Weed Against Sky, Detroit (pi. no. 662; sec also pi. no. 663). Siskind's attraction to abstract forms in nature and in the built world, already made visible in the architectural details he had photographed on Martha's Vineyard during the mid-1930s, became stronger over the next few decades as the photographer committed himself to "relaxing beliefs ... to seeing the world clean, fresh and alive." Acknowledging the influence of the accidental and spontaneous gestures favored by Abstract Expressionist painters, Siskind found in the canvases of Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Jackson Pollock suggestions for the motifs he extracted from street environments (pi. no. 664). Much of the experimentaiism fostered by the Institute took the form of manipulative interventions, but a number of graduates— including Linda Connor, Art Sinsabaugh, and Geoffrey Winningham—applied the precepts to straight photography, at times using unusual formats or special lenses to express a fresh vision of reality.

Another dimension was given to postwar photography by Minor White, whose search for allusive or metaphorical meanings in the appearances of reality attracted a cult following during the 1960s. Through extensive teaching and publishing activities, White persuasively urged that photographs be made to embody a mystic essence, that the camera reveal "tilings for what they are" and "for what else they are." Unsympathetic to the idea that the medium should emulate painting and drawing, White sought instead to continue the directions in straight photography mapped out by Srieglitz and Weston—to approach nature with a large-format camera, a sharp lens, and an eye for equivalences between form and feeling. Like Weston. White obliterated clues to size and geographic locale, giving his images the enigmatic quality seen in Moencopi Strata, Capitol Reef, Utah (pi. no. 665), a work that is a depiction of actual rock formations, an arresting visual design, and an invitation to sec within it whatever the viewer desires.

Younger photographers inspired by the intensity of White's credo and the force of Weston's images sought in natural phenomena of all kinds forms that might express their feelings of being at one with nature. Eroded surfaces, tangled branches, translucent petals, watery environments, and rock structures photographed close-up and with large-format cameras were favored by Walter Chapell and Paul Caponigro (pi. no. 666) as a means of going beyond perception to evoke the mystic divinity in all nature. The power of light to unlock "the greatest secrets of the unknown"" is central also to the imagery of Wynn Bullock (pi. no. 667), a Californian who was close to Weston personally and ideologically. A similar attitude about the transcendent meaning of nature has inspired Linda Connor's images of sacred trees, rocks, and waterfalls, taken in many parts of the world. Another means used to invest the landscape with fresh regard has been to view it from an unusual angle. William A. Garnett (pi. no. 668) and Bradford Washington both photograph from the air, transforming the shirting patterns of desert, eroded soil, and farmland into elegantly structured abstractions through framing and the quality and direction of the light. During the 1960s, this concept of the camera image as a lofty emblem of some universal truth was challenged by several groups—by those who believed that "the interior truth ultimately is the only truth," by those grappling with aesthetic or conceptual issues, and by those who responded to social realities but in a subjective fashion. The first two groups turned to manipulative and directorial photography; chroniclers of the social scene continued, for the most part, to favor straight photography. The changing character of American life, coupled with the popularity of the 35mm camera and fresh ideas about photographic aesthetics, also yielded a distinctive new style in straight street photography, with the prevailing tone becoming distanced and ironic. This approach had surfaced first in street images made in the early 1940s by Callahan, Walker Evans, and Louis Faurer, but impetus from Europeans working in the United States from the 1930s on also must be recognized. One of the earliest, John Gutmann (a German artist who arrived in 1933), focused on the urban scene in his travels across the country. His use of the medium to record the signs and symbols of American popular culture resembled Evans's approach in some respects, but Gutmann's earlier exposure to German Expressionism gave rise to a more caustic wit (pi. no. 669).

662. HARRY CALLAHAN. Weed Against Sky, Detroit, 1948.
Gelatin silver print. Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York.


HARRY CALLAHAN (collection)


(b Detroit, 22 Oct 1912; d Atlanta, GA, 15 March 1999).

American photographer. He took up photography in 1938, at the relatively late age of 26. Ansel Adams visited the Detroit Photo Guild in 1941 and Callahan was inspired by his emphasis on craftsmanship and his majestic images. Callahan’s earliest works focused on the calligraphic details of landscape, such as the patterns of grass against snow or telephone wires against the sky, or explored the effects of multiple exposures. Later subjects included studies of his wife Eleanor, a series of portraits made on Chicago’s State Street in 1950, a series of houses at Providence, RI, and Cape Cod beachscapes begun in the 1960s. Whether working in black and white or, later, in colour, as in Harry Callahan: Color (New York, 1980), Callahan was committed in all his work to what he called ‘the moment that people can’t always see’.

663. HARRY CALLAHAN. Eleanor, Port Huron, 1954.
Gelatin silver print. Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York.

664. AARON SISKIND. NEW YORK. No. 6, 1951.
Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery.

665. MINOR WHITE. Moencopi Strata, Capitol Reef, Utah, 1962.
Gelatin silver print. Museum of Modern Art, New York; Purchase.


MINOR WHITE  (see collection)

(b Minneapolis, MN, 9 July 1908; d Boston, MA, 24 June 1976).

American photographer and writer. He took his first photographs as a child with a Kodak Box Brownie camera and later learnt darkroom procedures as a student at the University of Minnesota. After graduating in 1933 with a degree in botany and English, he wrote poetry for five years while supporting himself with odd jobs. He moved to Portland, OR, in 1938 and became increasingly interested in photography. During 1938–9 he worked for the Works Progress Administration Federal Arts Project as a creative photographer documenting the early architecture and waterfront of Portland. In 1941 MOMA in New York exhibited several of his images. His first one-man show, photographs of the Grande Ronde-Wallowa Mountain area of north-eastern Oregon, opened at the Portland Art Museum in 1942.
 


MINOR WHITE. Barn and Clouds, in the Vicinity of Naples and Dansville, New York, 1955


 

666. PAUL CAPONIGRO. Schoodic Point, Maine, 1960.
Gelatin silver print. International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

667. WYNN BULLOCK. Point Lobos Wave, 1958.
Gelatin silver print. Collection Robert E. Abrams, New York.


WYNN BULLOCK  (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Wynn Bullock (April 18, 1902, Chicago - November 16, 1975, Monterey, California) was an American photographer that is notable for his photographs of nudes and of landscapes on the West Coast.
He started in the 1920s with a career as a concert tenor. While studying in Paris, he was inspired by visual artists, in particular Cézanne, Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray. Upon his return to the US, he focused on a career as a photographer.
He left law school to attend the Art Center School in Los Angeles. In 1948, he met and began a lifelong friendship with Edward Weston, a relationship that continually influenced his life as a photographer.
Bullock also explored the commercial side of photography, founding Arrow Camera in Santa_Maria, California in 1943. Bullock ran the business until 1952, when he sold it to Hank Datter.
Bullock's photographs are in over 90 museum collections including The Hallmark Collection of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, The Center for Creative Photography, and The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Some of his photographs were used by Edward Steichen in 1955 in his The Family of Man, a vast exhibition consisting of over 500 photos that depicted life, love and death in 68 countries.
 


WYNN BULLOCK. Navigation Without Numbers, 1957


 

668. WILLIAM A. GARNETT. Two Trees on a Hill with Shadows, Paso Rabies, Califomia, 1947.
Daniel Wolf, Inc., New York.

669. JOHN GUTMANN. The Jump, 1939.
Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Castelli Graphics.


JOHN GUTMANN (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

John Gutmann (1905-1998) was a German-born American photographer and painter.

After fleeing Nazi Germany for the United States, Gutmann acquired a job as a photographer for various German magazines. Gutmann quickly took an interest in the American way of life and sought to capture it through the lense of his camera. He especially took an interest in the Jazz music scene. Gutmann is recognized for his unique "worm's-eye view" camera angle. He enjoyed taking photos of ordinary things and making them seem special.

 


JOHN GUTMANN. The Artist Lives Dangerously San Francisco, 1938


 

The mordant views of bench sitters in Monte Carlo (pi. no. 670) by Lisette Model (who had been born in Vienna, then worked in France before settling in the United States in 1938) were followed by sardonic images she made in the streets of New York. An influential teacher in New York, Model found a receptive audience among young photographers, including Diane Arbus. Robert Frank, a Swiss-born emigre, was even more dominant in establishing a tone and style for the next generation. Awarded a Guggenheim grant in 1955, Frank used the money to take a photographic odyssey through the United States, working with a 35mm Leica. As an outsider, he regarded cherished national institutions and pastimes with detached skepticism, while his sensitive eye transformed situations into metaphors for the factiousness and consumerism of American postwar society. For example, in Trolley, New Orleans (pi. no. 671), the contrasts in the facial expressions and gestures of the riders, as well as the structural organization of the image itself, convey without rhetoric the psychological and emotional complexities as well as the physical divisions that characterized racial relationships in the South. (See also pi. no. 672.) Frank's images, which were meant to be seen as a group rather than individually, were published in book format as The Americans— first in France and later, in 1959, in the United States. Their irreverent, unposed, erratically framed, and sometimes blurred forms (reflective also of their maker's anti-aesthetic attitude toward print quality) were dismissed by American critics as too harsh but were hailed by young Americans who had had their fill of heroes and icons.

William Klein's raw, grating views of New York in the 1950s were even less acceptable as a vision of American society. Klein—an American resident of France who is a painter, graphic designer, and filmmaker in addition to being a fashion and street photographer—also ignored traditional precepts about sharpness, tonal range, and print quality. His Garment Center (pi. no. 673) resonates with the anxieties of modern urban existence. Images by Frank and Klein were considered critical of the American middle-class; another response to that group can be seen in the derisive treatment by Diane Arbus of so-called normal individuals and her compassion for those dismissed as bizarre by conventional society—transvestites, homosexuals, and prostitutes, for example. Prompted by what she termed the "ceremonies of our present," Arbus, whose mentor was Model and whose model was Weegee (pi. no. 624), approached such outcasts without moral pre-judgment, but when she photographed ordinary people in ordinary situations her reaction was invariably ungenerous. Whatever her subject, she usually favored direct, head-on poses that often mimicked the style of the family snapshot, as in Mother Holding Her Child, N.J. (pi. mi 674)—one of the most alienated images of motherhood in the history of visual art.

Indeed, one of the signal influences on straight camera images during the 1960s was the "snapshot aesthetic." The appetite for naive camera imagery accorded with the era's taste for vernacular and "pop" culture—a taste also reflected in the themes and techniques of graphic art. Like their colleagues painting soup cans, road signs, and comic-book characters, photographers were attracted by the omnipresent emblems of contemporary culture— automobiles, billboards, graffiti, and storefronts. They recorded these artifacts, as well as people and situations, in a casual style that seemed to paraphrase the lack of artifice and the neutral emotional tone of most snapshots. In 1966, the photographer-educator Nathan Lyons coined the phrase "social landscape" to characterize this type of documentation, which he and others felt avoided the sentimentality they perceived in the older documentary style. The "social landscape" approach appealed especially to photographers whose view of reality tended to be disjunctive and who no longer canonized the pre-visualized, beautifully printed, large-format camera image.

The desire to make pictures that affirmed the camera's potential for neutral observation evolved from interest in the snapshot and emerged as a significant impulse, nurtured from the late 1960s through 1991 by John Szarkowski, director of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In theory, the avoidance of overt psychological or ideological interpretation in a photograph allows the viewer to read the work without the interference of the photographer's political or social biases. This mode of working is exemplified by Garry Winogrand, whose images, according to Szarkowski, are statements about "the uniquely prejudicial (intrinsic) qualities of photographic description" and not about their ostensible subjects. Winogrand's photo-graph of a young woman (pi. no. 675) is arresting in the way it integrates and structures the reflections and geometric elements, relating the principal figure to the manikin and to the city background, but it is an ambiguous statement that allows the viewer to interpret its meaning freely.

Using comparable subject matter—people and things— Lee Friedlander makes views of city streets that are simiarly equivocal (pi. no. 676) but nevertheless suggestive of an uneasy urban tension. Along with the uninflected portrayals of ordinary people by Todd Papageorge and Larry Fink and the street views by Mark Cohen and Joel Meyerowitz—to cite but four more of the numerous photographers who were initially attracted to this style of uninflected street photography—such works permit viewers to decide for themselves whether a particular image is derisive or amusing, whether it is interesting as social or political comment, as an example of the formal problems of picture-making, or, like the vast majority of photographs, just momentarily eye-catching.

This vernacular mode had an unexpected side-effect: it prepared the way for the acceptance of humor in seriously conceived images. In the United States, Pictorialists and modernists alike had been fairly earnest about photography; witty or humorous images were relegated to advertising or popular entertainment or family snapshots. Within the diversity of photographic expression that emerged in the 1960s, humor came to be seen as a legitimate element. Elliott Erwitt and Burk Uzzle, for example, are both successful photojournalists who regard people, animals, and artifacts with disarming wit (pi. no. 677). Although this vein still has not been extensively mined in the United States, other photographers, among them Geoffrey Winningham and Bill Owens, gently satirize obviously comical anomalies in contemporary culture. The selling strategies of advertising, the pomposities of high art, and the excesses of performance art inspire William Wegman's antic dog images (pi. no. 678). Although humorous in appearance, Sandy Skoglund's interiors full of animal and human forms that she sculpts and poses and paints in unnatural colors are intended to show "what it's like to live in America at this time." Still other approaches to humor can be seen in the whimsical confusions between reality and camera image explored by the conceptualist photographer Kenneth Josephson (pi. no. 742).

 

670. LISETTE MODEL. French Riviera, 1937.
Gelatin silver print. Private collection.


LISETTE MODEL (see collection)

(b Vienna, 10 Nov 1906; d New York, 30 March 1983).

American photographer of Austrian birth. A school-friend of Gertrude Schoenberg, she studied music first with her father Arnold Schoenberg, before continuing her studies in Paris. She was a self-taught photographer and tried to find ways of working in photography, training as a technician in a photographic laboratory. In 1938 she settled in New York. Two years later the photographer Ralph Steiner (1899–1986) published her series of photographs, Promenade des Anglais, which she had taken in Nice in 1937. The series was characteristic of her work in revealing her obvious love of people, seen for example in Promenade des Anglais (1937), which depicts a rotund woman in a large sunhat, sitting precariously on a bench. The photographers Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971) and Beaumont Newhall (b 1908) were impressed by her work.
 


LISETTE MODEL. Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre, New York, 1940-46


 

671. ROBERT FRANK. Trolley, N. Orleans, c. 1955.
Gelatin silver print.


ROBERT FRANK (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Robert Frank (born November 9, 1924), born in Zürich, Switzerland, is an important figure in American photography and film. His most notable work, the 1958 photographic book titled simply The Americans, was heavily influential in the post-war period, and earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and skeptical outsider's view of American society. Frank later expanded into film and video and experimented with compositing and manipulating photographs.

Frank was born to a wealthy Jewish family in Switzerland. Frank's mother, Rosa, was Swiss, but his father, Hermann, had become stateless after World War I and had to apply for the Swiss citizenship of Frank and his older brother, Manfred. Though Frank and his family remained safe in Switzerland during World War II, the threat of Nazism nonetheless affected his understanding of oppression. He turned to photography in part as a means to escape the confines of his business-oriented family and home, and trained under a few photographers and graphic designers before he created his first hand-made book of photographs, 40 Fotos, in 1946. Frank emigrated to the United States in 1947, and secured a job in New York City as a fashion photographer for Harper's Bazaar. He soon left to travel in South America and Europe. He created another hand-made book of photographs that he shot in Peru, and returned to the U.S. in 1950. That year was momentous for Frank, who after meeting Edward Steichen participated in the group show 51 American Photographers at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); he also married fellow artist, Mary Lockspeiser, with whom he had two children, Andrea and Pablo.
Though he was initially optimistic about the United States, Frank's perspective quickly changed as he confronted the fast pace of American life and what he saw as an overemphasis on money. He now saw America as an often bleak and lonely place, a perspective that became evident in his later photography. Frank's own dissatisfaction with the control editors exercised over his work also undoubtedly colored his experience. He continued to travel, moving his family briefly to Paris. In 1953, he returned to New York and continued to work as a freelance photojournalist for magazines including McCall's, Vogue, and Fortune.

With the aid of his major artistic influence, the photographer Walker Evans, Frank secured a grant from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1955 to travel across the United States and photograph its society at all strata. He took his family along with him for part of his series of road trips over the next two years, during which time he took 28,000 shots. Only 83 of those were finally selected by him for publication in The Americans. Frank's journey was not without incident. While driving through Arkansas, Frank was arbitrarily thrown in jail after being stopped by the police; elsewhere in the South, he was told by a sheriff that he had "an hour to leave town."
Shortly after returning to New York in 1957, Frank met Beat writer Jack Kerouac on the sidewalk outside a party and showed him the photographs from his travels. Kerouac immediately told Frank "Sure I can write something about these pictures," and he contributed the introduction to the U.S. edition of The Americans. Frank also became lifelong friends with Allen Ginsberg, and was one of the main visual artists to document the Beat subculture, which felt an affinity with Frank's interest in documenting the tensions between the optimism of the 1950s and the realities of class and racial differences. The irony that Frank found in the gloss of American culture and wealth over this tension gave Frank's photographs a clear contrast to those of most contemporary American photojournalists, as did his use of unusual focus, low lighting and cropping that deviated from accepted photographic techniques.
This divergence from contemporary photographic standards gave Frank difficulty at first in securing an American publisher. Les Américains was first published in 1958 by Robert Delpire in Paris, and finally in 1959 in the United States by Grove Press, where it initially received substantial criticism. Popular Photography, for one, derided his images as "meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons and general sloppiness." Though sales were also poor at first, Kerouac's introduction helped it reach a larger audience because of the popularity of the Beat phenomenon. Over time and through its inspiration of later artists, The Americans became a seminal work in American photography and art history, and is considered the work with which Frank is most clearly identified. In 1961, Frank received his first individual show, entitled Robert Frank: Photographer, at the Art Institute of Chicago. He also showed at MoMA in New York in 1962.
To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first publication of The Americans, a new edition will be released worldwide on May 15, 2008. Robert Frank discussed with his publisher, Gerhard Steidl, the idea of producing a new edition using modern scanning and the finest tritone printing. The starting point was to bring original prints from New York to Göttingen, Germany, where Steidl is based. In July 2007, Frank visited Göttingen. A new format for the book was worked out and new typography selected. A new cover was designed and Frank chose the book cloth, foil embossing and the endpaper. Most significantly, as he has done for every edition of The Americans, Frank changed the cropping of many of the photographs, usually including more information. Two images were changed completely from the original 1958 and 1959 editions. A celebratory exhibit of The Americans will be displayed in 2009 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The new edition is published by Steidl and National Gallery of Art, Washington, and will be available in North America through D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers .

By that time, however, Frank had moved away from photography to concentrate on making films. Among them was the 1959 Pull My Daisy, which was written and narrated by Kerouac and starred Ginsberg and others from the Beat circle. The Beat philosophy emphasized spontaneity, and the film conveyed the quality of having been thrown together or even improvised. Pull My Daisy was accordingly praised for years as an improvisational masterpiece, until Frank's co-director, Alfred Leslie, revealed in a November 28, 1968 article in the Village Voice that the film was actually carefully planned, rehearsed, and directed by him and Frank, who shot the film with professional lighting.
In 1960, Frank was staying in Fluxus artist George Segal's basement while filming Sin of Jesus with a grant from Walter K. Gutman. Isaac Babel's story was transformed to center on a woman working on a chicken farm in New Jersey. It was originally supposed to be filmed in six weeks in and around New Brunswick, but Frank ended up shooting for six months.
His 1972 documentary of the Rolling Stones, Cocksucker Blues, is arguably his best known film. The film shows the Stones while on their '72 tour, engaging in heavy drug use and group sex. Perhaps more disturbing to the Stones when they saw the finished product, however, was the degree to which Frank faithfully captured the loneliness and despair of life on the road. Mick Jagger reportedly told Frank, "It's a fucking good film, Robert, but if it shows in America we'll never be allowed in the country again." The Stones sued to prevent the film's release, and it was disputed whether Frank as the artist or the Stones as those who hired the artist actually owned the copyright. A court order resolved this with Solomonic wisdom by restricting the film to being shown no more than five times per year and only in the presence of Frank. Franks' photography also appeared on the cover of the Rolling Stones' album Exile on Main St..
Other films by Robert Frank include "Keep Busy" and "Candy Mountain" which he co-directed with Rudy Wurlitzer.

Though Frank continued to be interested in film and video, he returned to still images in the 1970s, publishing his second photographic book, The Lines of My Hand, in 1972. This work has been described as a "visual autobiography", and consists largely of personal photographs. However, he largely gave up "straight" photography to instead create narratives out of constructed images and collages, incorporating words and multiple frames of images that were directly scratched and distorted on the negatives. None of this later work has achieved an impact or notoriety comparable to that which The Americans achieved. As some critics have pointed out, this is perhaps because Frank began playing with constructed images more than a decade after Robert Rauschenberg introduced his silkscreen composites—in contrast to The Americans, Frank's later images simply were not beyond the pale of accepted technique and practice by that time.
Frank and Mary separated in 1969. He remarried to sculptor June Leaf, and in 1971, moved to the community of Mabou, Nova Scotia in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia in Canada. In 1974, tragedy struck when his daughter, Andrea, was killed in a plane crash in Tikal, Guatemala. Also around this time, his son, Pablo, was first hospitalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia. Much of Frank's subsequent work has dealt with the impact of the loss of both his daughter and subsequently his son, who died in an Allentown, PA hospital in 1994. In 1995, he founded the Andrea Frank Foundation, which provides grants to artists.
Since his move to Nova Scotia, Canada, Frank has divided his time between his home there in a former fisherman's shack on the coast, and his Bleecker Street loft in New York. He has acquired a reputation for being a recluse (particularly since the death of Andrea), declining most interviews and public appearances. He has continued to accept eclectic assignments, however, such as photographing the 1984 Democratic National Convention, and directing music videos for artists such as New Order ("Run"), and Patti Smith ("Summer Cannibals"). Frank continues to produce both films and still images, and has helped organize several retrospectives of his art. In 1994, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC presented the most comprehensive retrospective of Frank's work to date, entitled Moving Out. Frank was awarded the prestigious Hasselblad Award for photography in 1996. His 1997 award exhibition at the Hasselblad Center in Goteborg, Sweden was entitled Flamingo, as was the accompanying published catalog.
He is currently represented by the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York.

672. ROBERT FRANK. Political Rally, Chicago, c. 1955.
Gelatin silver print.

673. WILLIAM KLEIN. Garment Center, 1954.
Gelatin silver print.


WILLIAM KLEIN (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

William Klein (born April 19, 1928) is a photographer and filmmaker. Though born in New York City and educated at City College of New York, Klein is predominantly active in France. He has directed a number of feature films, including the 1966 film Who Are You, Polly Magoo? and the anti-American satire Mr. Freedom. Klein's photography won the Prix Nadar in 1956.


WILLIAM KLEIN.
Hat & 5 Roses


 

674. DIANE ARBUS. Mother Holding Her Child, N.J., 1967.
Gelatin silver print.


DIANE ARBUS (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer, noted for her portraits of people on the fringes of society, such as transvestites, dwarfs, giants, prostitutes, and ordinary citizens in unconventional poses and settings.
Diane Arbus (née Nemerov) was born in New York City into a wealthy Jewish family, the younger sister of Howard Nemerov, who served as United States Poet Laureate on two separate occasions. She attended the Fieldston School for Ethical Culture.
She fell in love with future actor Allan Arbus at age 14, and married him in 1941, soon after turning 18, despite her parents' objections. When her husband began training as a photographer for the US Army, he shared his lessons with Diane. As a husband-wife team, the Arbuses became successful in the fashion world. As Diane began to take her own photographs, she took formal lessons with Lisette Model at The New School in New York. Edward Steichen's noted photo exhibit, The Family of Man, included a photograph credited to the couple. Together the Arbuses had two daughters, photographer Amy Arbus and writer and art director Doon Arbus. Allan and Diane Arbus had separated by 1959.
After separating from her husband, Arbus studied with Alexey Brodovitch and Richard Avedon. Beginning in 1960, Arbus worked extensively as a photojournalist, her photos appearing in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Harper's Bazaar and Sunday Times magazines, among others. Her first public work was an assignment by Esquire editor and art director Robert Benton. Published under the title, "The Vertical Journey: Six Movements of a Moment Within the Heart of the City", consisting of six portraits of an assortment of New Yorkers. Arbus would go on to collaborate with Hayes and Benton (and Benton's successors) for 31 photographs in 18 articles.
Arbus' early work was created using 35mm cameras, but by the 1960s Arbus adopted the Rolleiflex medium format twin-lens reflex. This format provided a square aspect ratio, higher image resolution, and a waist-level viewfinder that allowed Arbus to connect with her subjects in ways that a standard eye-level viewfinder did not. Arbus also experimented with the use of flashes in daylight, allowing her to highlight and separate her subjects from the background.
In 1963, Arbus received a Guggenheim Fellowship grant. Arbus received a second Guggenheim grant in 1966. The Museum of Modern Art, in 1967, staged Arbus' first museum show as the New Documents show which included the work of Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander. She also taught photography at The Parsons School for Design in NYC and Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts.
In July 1971, Arbus committed suicide in Greenwich Village at the age of 48 by ingesting a large quantity of barbiturates and then slashing her wrists.


DIANE ARBUS. Untitled, 1970-71

 

675. GARRY WINOGRAND. Untitted, c. 1964.
Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and the Garry Winogrand Estate.


GARRY WINOGRAND (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Garry WinograndGarry Winogrand (14 January 1928, New York City – 19 March 1984, Tijuana, Mexico) was a street photographer known for his portrayal of America in the mid 20th century.
Winogrand studied painting at City College of New York and painting and photography at Columbia University in New York City in 1948. He also attended a photojournalism class taught by Alexey Brodovich at The New School for Social Research in New York City in 1951. Winogrand made his first notable appearance in 1963 at an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. This show included Minor White, George Krause, Jerome Liebling and Ken Heyman.
In 1966 Winogrand exhibited at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York with Lee Friedlander, Duane Michals, Bruce Davidson, and Danny Lyon in an exhibition entitled Toward a Social Landscape. In 1967 he participated in the New Documents show at MoMA with Diane Arbus and Lee Friedlander. During his career, he received three Guggenheim Fellowship Awards (1964, 1969, and 1979) and a National Endowment of the Arts Award in 1979. Winogrand also taught photography courses at the University of Texas at Austin and at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Winogrand was influenced by Walker Evans and Robert Frank and their respective publications American Photographs and The Americans. Henri Cartier-Bresson was another influence although stylistically different.
Winogrand was known for his portrayal of American life in the early 1960s, Many of his photographs depict the social issues of his time day and in the role of media in shaping attitudes. He roamed the streets of New York with his 35mm Leica camera rapidly taking photographs using a prefocused wide angle lens. His pictures frequently appeared as if they were driven by the energy of the events he was witnessing. While the style has been much imitated, Winogrand's eye, his visual style, and his wit, are unique.
Winogrand's photographs of the Bronx Zoo and the Coney Island Aquarium made up his first book The Animals. (1969) a collection of pictures that observe the connections between humans and animals. His book Public Relations (1977) shows press conferences with deer-in-the-headlight writers and politicians, protesters beaten by cops, and wild museum parties frequented by the self-satisfied cultural glitterati. These photographs capture the evolution of a uniquely 20th and 21st century phenomenon, the event created to be documented, in Winogrand's style -- a unique conversation between the photographer and his subject. The tilted camera, the frame filled with twitchy, restless motion and agitated faces, come together to represent an authentic and original response to the evolving culture of public relations. In Stock Photographs 1980, Winogrand published his views of the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo.
Winogrand died of gall bladder cancer, in 1984 at age 56.


ARRY WINOGRAND.
Untitled, 1950s

 

676. LEE FRIEDLANDER. Cincinnati, Ohio, 1963.
Gelatin silver print.


LEE FRIEDLANDER  (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Lee Friedlander (born July 14, 1934) is an American photographer and artist.
Friedlander studied photography at the Art Center College of Design located in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he moved to New York City where he photographed jazz musicians for record covers. His early work was influenced by Eugčne Atget, Robert Frank, and Walker Evans. In 1960, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded Friedlander a grant to focus on his art and made subsequent grants in 1962 and 1977. Some of his most famous photographs appeared in the September 1985 Playboy, black and white nude photographs of Madonna from the late 1970's.
Working primarily with Leica 35mm cameras and black and white film, Friedlander's style focused on the "social landscape". His art used detached images of urban life, store-front reflections, structures framed by fences, and posters and signs all combining to capture the look of modern life.
In 1963, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House mounted Friedlander's first solo museum show. Friedlander was then a key figure in the 1967 "New Documents" exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City along with Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus. In 1990, the MacArthur Foundation awarded Friedlander a MacArthur Fellowship.
Friedlander now works primarily with medium format cameras (e.g. Hasselblad Superwide). While suffering from arthritis and housebound, he focused on photographing his surroundings. His book, Stems, reflects his life during the time of his knee replacement surgery. He has said that his "limbs" reminded him of plant stems. These images display textures which were not a feature of his earlier work. In this sense, the images are similar to those of Josef Sudek who also photographed the confines of his home and studio.
In 2005, the Museum of Modern Art displayed a major retrospective of Friedlander works. In the same year he received a 2005 Hasselblad International Award. His work was displayed again by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as a retrospective in 2008. Concurrent to this retrospective, a more contemporary body of his work, America By Car, was displayed at the Fraenkel Gallery not far from the museum.


LEE FRIEDLANDER. De De and Billie Pierce, New Orleans, 1962


 

677. ELLIOTT ERWITT. Alabama, U.S.A., I974.
Gelatin silver print.

678. WILLIAM WEGMAN. Man Ray with Sculpture, 1978.
Gelatin silver print with ink applied. Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany.
Courtesy Holly Solomon Gallery. New York.


WILLIAM WEGMAN (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

William Wegman (b. 1943 in Holyoke, Massachusetts) is an artist best known as a photographer who has created a series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses.
Wegman reportedly originally intended to pursue a career as a painter. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967.
While teaching at California State University, Long Beach, he acquired the first and most famous of the dogs he photographed, a Weimaraner he named Man Ray (after the artist and photographer). Man Ray later became so popular that the Village Voice named him "Man of the Year" in 1982. He named a subsequent dog Fay Ray (a play on the name of actress Fay Wray).
On January 29, 1992, Wegman appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and showed a video clip of "Dog Duet," his 1975 short of Man Ray & another dog slowly and mysteriously peering around. Wegman explained that he had created the video by moving a tennis ball around, off-camera, thus capturing the dogs' attention.
Wegman's photos are well-respected in the art world, are are held in permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His photos and videos have also been a popular success, and have appeared in books, advertisements, films, as well as on television programs like Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live. In 2006, Wegman's work was featured in a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Norton Museum of Art, and the Addison Gallery. The Brooklyn Museum explored 40 years of Wegman’s work in all media in the 2006 retrospective William Wegman: Funney/Strange.

 


Glass Slipper

 

Evolving out of the concept of "social landscape," images that present the artifacts and landscapes of contemporary industrial culture without emotional shading were given the name "new topographies." Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Frank Gohlke, Roger Mcrtin, and Stephen Shore, among others, photographed tract housing, factory buildings, western land developments, and urban streets, recording this despoiled landscape seemingly without personal comment. Adams, for example, may have shared with Ansel Adams (no relation) a concern for the beauty of the land from the Missouri River westward, but for his photographs he selected vantage points and effects of light that show its grandeur diminished by roads, lumber camps, and housing developments.

South Wall, Mazda Motors (pi. no. 679), one of a 1974 series on industrial parks by Baltz, is meant to provide "sterile information with no emotional content," according to the photographer, who said that his vocation was to "describe with a camera how something looks as a photograph." Nevertheless, all photographers make decisions concerning the selection of a motif, the management of light, and the organization of form. The fact that "topographical" images usually are highly structured suggests that their uneventfulness and lack of emotional expression are in themselves emblems of a style and are no more factual as records of what actually exists than images that reflect more socially oriented points of view. One consequence of the supposedly neutral approach is that such images may serve multiple purposes—aesthetic, informational, propagandists.

The deadpan quality of "topographical" views—whether Baltz's factories or Gohlke's grain elevators—often makes them indistinguishable from images commissioned to illustrate corporate reports, but photographers with strong feelings about the desecration of the landscape have sought to make more pointed statements. One solution was "re-photography" projects: groups of photographers working in California and Colorado during the 1980s selected the same vantage points recorded by Timothy O'Sullivan and William Henry Jackson during the exploratory expeditions of the 19th century; the purpose was to produce . comparison of the terrain's appearance then and now. (Similarly, a French group, taking inspiration from the 19th-century project by the Missions heliographiques photographed the pernicious effects of industrialization on their country's landscape.) Individual photographers also explored a variety of formats in their work dealing with industrial pollution. Robert Glenn Ketcham, Richard Misrach, Barbara Norfleet, and others used color film to contrast the subtle beauties of nature with the despoliation caused by ill-conceived engineering projects (pi. no. 784) or with garish consumer refuse (pi. no. 785). At a further remove from the traditional documentary mode, John Pfahl added some object—a ribbon, a stake—to make the point that the human presence always alters the natural landscape.

Other landscape photographers argued for a less damning view of the relationship between land and people. Work by Linda Connor and Marilyn Bridges reveals ancient markings on rocks and earth made by people who seem to have lived in greater harmony with nature. With her portrayals of the domesticated New England landscape of field, garden, and woods, Gretchen Garner suggests that opposing forces in nature—storm and calm, fire and water—not only are necessary to the cycles of life but also create beauty. Lois Conner's photographs of nature and culture in Asia (pi. no. 680) treat the built and the natural worlds as forming a unity rather than as antagonistic to each other.

Photographers have also revitalized themes that were prominent in 19th-century documentation, emphasizing, as in images of ancient Egyptian tomb sculpture by Lynn Davis (pi. no. 681), the aesthetic qualities of structures and monuments that have essentially become an integral part of the landscape. Respect for the artful historical documentation of artifacts—revealing the object in its most attractive light—can be seen in Linda Butler's photographs of Shaker buildings and interiors and of Japanese hand-crafts and in Richard Fare's images of classical statuary (pi. no. 682). Like their antecedents, these works explore stillness and movement, languor and vigor, and the play of light on forms.

.Following World War II, photographers with a broadly humanist oudook—among them, Roy DeCarava, Louis Faurer, Jerome Liebling, Leon Levenstein, Helen Levitt, Walter Roseublum (pi. no. 465), and Max Yavno—continued to work on a variety of self-motivated projects whose central subject was people, despite the fact that museums and galleries tended for a time to give greater support to other kinds of images. Levitt's lyrical views of youngsters (pi. no. 683), begun in the 1940s in black and white and continued intermittently up through the 1970s in color, illuminate the toughness, grace, and humor of those growing up) New York's inner-city neighborhoods. De Carava's Pepsi, New York (pi. no. 684) may incorporate some components of the vernacular style—consumer products, billboard ads—but the highly structured handling of light and architectonic elements focuses attention on the physical and psychological exhaustion of die central figure, leaning no doubt as to where the photographer's sympathies lie.

Liebling's grasp of abstract form is apparent in the repeated arclike shapes formed by head, shoulders, and plate in Blind Home, St. Paul, Minnesota (pi. no. 685), but these elements also generate a sense of the circumscribed world of the sightless. A somewhat cooler romantic sensibility can be seen in the work of George A. Tice, whose careful control of tonality and pictorial structure imbues with a sense of wistfulness the customs and physical surroundings of the Amish in Pennsylvania and of ordinary folk in the small towns of New Jersey (pi. no. 686).

In the 1960s, despite the inroads of film and television documentaries, the still image again came to be seen as a significant element in socially useful programs. Many factors were responsible for the revival of interest in the traditional forms of social documentation. One was the emergence of funding sources both in and out of government. Support from the national and state arts endowments; from private granting bodies such as the venerable John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (which from 1946 on had funded a range of photographic projects); and from banks, economic assistance programs, and labor unions made possible individual and group camera documentation of decaying and regenerated neighborhoods, rural communities, nuclear and other power installations, and the working conditions of industrial and farm laborers. A multiplicity of projects made use of images in conjunction with words in slide talks, exhibitions, and publications.

Another factor in the upsurge of social documentation was the involvement of photojournalists in increasingly volatile sociopolitical situations in America, Africa, ; Europe. For instance, Bob Adelman, Bruce Davidson, Leonard Freed, Danny Lyon, and Mary Ellen Mark were among the photojournalists who covered the civil rights struggles of the 1960s for the press , continued after-ward to confront social issues on their own, developing their themes with greater depth than was possible when working on deadline. When Davidson undertook subsequent photographic projects in East Harlem (pi. no. 687), on the New York subways, and in Central Park, he moved from the somewhat equivocal tone of his very early work toward a more traditional humanism, even though he claims that the evidence of fear, affection, and hopeless-ness he captured in these images helped him "to discover who the person was who took the picture."

In the wake of his experiences with the civil rights movement in the South, Lyon, whose initial work had included an evocative picture essay on Hell's Angels bikers, depicted life in Texas state prisons. Conversations with the Dead, the book that resulted from this project, vividly communicates the photographer's sense of the "unmitigated sorrow" permeating this form of social estrangement (pi, no. 688). The desire to illuminate the psychological consequences of inhumane circumstances has inspired many photographers to depict not only, or even primarily, the squalor of certain environments but also the moments that sum up the effect of life's experiences on the individual. In one such example, by Mary Ellen Mark, the photographer was entranced with the life force of her subject (pi. no. 689); in another, Eugene Richards, who has photographed in slums throughout the nation, evokes the dignity and warmth of familial relationships among those too often regarded as predators or victims (pi. no. 690).

The documentation of life in African-American communities, the emergence of a substantial number of black (and especially black women) professional photographers, and the flowering among African Americans of photography as personal expression also owes something to the social climate of the late 1960s. Roland L. Freeman, for example, began to use a camera while working for the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.G., and went on to produce a touching visual document of the Baltimore neighborhood of his youth (pi. no. 691). In 1973, the first Black Photographers Annual appeared; in this and subsequent volumes, black photographers showed them-selves to be fully aware of the range of contemporary trends even as they focused their lenses on the way African -American life is lived. In addition to Gordon Parks (pi. no. 692), those who entered the ranks of black photojournalists at this time included Anthony Barboza, Chester Higgins, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Marilyn Nance (pi. no. 693), Beuford Smith, and Dixie Vereen, all of whom have evolved distinctive styles. More recently, several black women photographers have turned to directorial modes for dealing with issues related to family life and history (see pi. nos. 738, 739).

 

679. LEWIS BALTZ. South Wall, Mazda Motors, 1974.
Gelatin silver print. Castclli Graphics, New York.

680. Lois CONNER. Halong Bay, 1993.
Platinum print. Laurence Miller Gallery, New York.

681. LYNN DAVIS. Statue V, 1989.
Selenium-toned gelatin silver. Houk Friedman G.illerv, New York.

682. RICHARD PARE. Pluto and Proserpine, Ginn Lorenzo Bernini, Runic, 1991.
Color-coupler print. Courtesy Richard Pare.

683. HELEN LEVITT. New York, c. 1945.
Gelatin silver print. Collection Judith Mamiye, Oakhurst, N.J.


HELEN LEVITT (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Helen Levitt (born 31 August 1913) is an American documentary photographer.
Levitt grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Dropping out of school, she taught herself photography while working for a commercial photographer. While teaching some classes in art to children in 1937, Levitt became intrigued with the transitory chalk drawings that were part of the New York children's street culture of the time. She purchased a Leica camera and began to photograph these works as well as the children who made them. The resulting photographs appeared, to great acclaim, in 1987 as In The Street: chalk drawings and messages, New York City 1938–1948. Named as one of the "100 best photo-books", first-editions are now highly collectable.
She studied with Walker Evans 1938 and 1939. In 1943 Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art curated her first solo exhibition, after which she began to find press work as a documentary photographer. In the late 1940s she made two documentary films with Janice Loeb and James Agee: In the Street (1948) and The Quiet One (1948). Levitt, along with Loeb and Sidney Meyers, received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay of The Quiet One. Levitt was later credited as a cinematographer on The Savage Eye (1960), which was produced by Ben Maddow, Meyers, Joseph Strick; she was also credited as an assistant director for Strick and Maddow's film version of The Balcony (1963).
Levitt worked in film for about ten years. In 1959 and 1960, Levitt received two Guggenheim Foundation grants to take color photographs on the streets of New York, and she returned to still photography. Her first major book was A Way of Seeing (1965). Much of her work in color from the 1960s was stolen in a burglary. The remaining photos, and others taken in the following years, can be seen in the 2005 book Slide Show: The Color Photographs of Helen Levitt. In 1976 she was a Photography Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts.
She has remained active as a photographer for nearly 70 years and still lives in New York City. New York's "visual poet laureate" is notoriously private and publicity shy.


HELEN LEVITT.
New York, c. 1940


 

684. ROY DECARAVA. Pepsi, New York, 1964.
Gelatin silver print.

685. JEROME LIEBLING. Blind Home, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1963.
Gelatin silver print.

686. GEORGE A. TICE. Joe's Barbershop, Paterson, N.J., 1970.
Gelatin silver print.

687. BRUCE DAVIDSON. Untitted, East 100th Street, 1966.
Gelatin silver print.

688. DANNY LYON. The Line, 1968.
Gelatin silver print.

689. MARY ELLEN MARK. "Tiny" in Her Halloween Costume, Seattle, 1983.
Gelatin silver print. Marv Ellen Mark Library, New York.

690. EUGENE RICHARDS. Grandmother, Brooklyn, from Americans We. 1993.
Gelatin silver print.

691. ROLAND L. FREEMAN. Amber's Helper, June, 1969.
Gelatin silver print.

692. GORDON PARKS. Housewife, Washington, D.C. 1942.
Gelatin silver print. G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Santa Monica, Cal.


GORDON PARKS (see collection)
 

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Gordon Roger Alexander Buchannan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was a groundbreaking American photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and film director. He is best remembered for his photo essays for Life magazine and as the director of the 1971 film Shaft.
The youngest of 15 children, Parks was born into a poor, black family in segregated Fort Scott, Kansas. His mother, a staunch Methodist, was the main influence on his life, refusing to allow her son to justify failure with the excuse that he had been born black, and instilling in him self-confidence, ambition and a capacity for hard work.
When Parks was 15 years old, as said in his book "A Hungry Heart", his mother died. Soon after her death his father sent him to live with his married sister in St. Paul, Minnesota. He and his brother-in-law did not get along; he only lived there for a few weeks until he got in a fight with his brother-in-law, getting him evicted. He was forced to sleep in trolley cars, loiter in pool halls, and play piano in a brothel. Parks also worked as a factotum in a whites-only club and as a waiter on a luxury train.
Parks later commented: “I had a mother who would not allow me to complain about not accomplishing something because I was black. Her attitude was, ‘If a white boy can do it, then you can do it, too—and do it better, or don’t come home.’”
In 1938, Parks was struck by photographs of migrant workers in a magazine and bought his first camera, a Voigtländer Brilliant, for $12.50 at a pawnshop.The photo clerks who developed Parks' first roll of film, applauded his work and prompted him to get a fashion assignment at Frank Murphy's women's clothing store in St. Paul. Parks double exposed every frame except one, but that shot caught the eye of Marva Louis, heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis' elegant wife. She encouraged Parks to move to Chicago, where he began a portrait business for society women.
Over the next few years, Parks moved from job to job, developing a freelance portrait and fashion photographer sideline. He began to chronicle the city's South Side black ghetto and in 1941 an exhibition of those photographs won Parks a photography fellowship with the Farm Security Administration. Working as a trainee under Roy Stryker, Parks created one of his best known photographs, American Gothic, Washington, D.C. (named after Grant Wood painting American Gothic). The photo shows a black woman, Ella Watson, who worked on the cleaning crew for the FSA building, standing stiffly in front of an American flag, a broom in one hand and a mop in the background. Parks had been inspired to create the picture after encountering repeated racism in restaurants and shops, following his arrival in Washington, D.C.. Upon viewing it, Stryker said that it was an indictment of America, and could get all of his photographers fired; he urged Parks to keep working with Watson, however, leading to a series of photos of her daily life. Parks, himself, said later that the first image was unsubtle and overdone; nonetheless, other commentators have argued that it drew strength from its polemical nature and its duality of victim and survivor, and so has affected far more people than his subsequent pictures of Watson.
After the FSA disbanded, Parks remained in Washington as a correspondent with the Office of War Information, but became disgusted with the prejudice he encountered and resigned in 1944. Moving to Harlem, Parks became a freelance fashion photographer for Vogue. He later followed Stryker to the Standard Oil (New Jersey) Photography Project, which assigned photographers to take pictures of small towns and industrial centers. Parks's most striking of the period included Dinner Time at Mr. Hercules Brown's Home, Somerville, Maine (1944); Grease Plant Worker, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1946); Car Loaded with Furniture on Highway (1945); and Ferry Commuters, Staten Island, N.Y. (1946).
Parks renewed his search for photography jobs in the fashion world. Despite racist attitudes of the day, Vogue editor Alexander Liberman hired him to shoot a collection of evening gowns. Parks photographed fashion for Vogue for the next few years. During this time, he published his first two books, Flash Photography (1947) and Camera Portraits: Techniques and Principles of Documentary Portraiture (1948).
A 1948 photo essay on a young Harlem gang leader won Parks a staff job as a photographer and writer with Life magazine. For 20 years, Parks produced photos on subjects including fashion, sports, Broadway, poverty, racial segregation, and portraits of Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Muhammad Ali, and Barbra Streisand. His 1961 photo essay on a poor Brazilian boy named Flavio da Silva, who was dying from bronchial pneumonia and malnutrition, brought donations that saved the boy's life and paid for a new home for his family.
In the 1950s, Parks worked as a consultant on various Hollywood productions and later directed a series of documentaries commissioned by National Educational Television on black ghetto life.
Beginning in the 1960s, Parks branched out into literature, writing The Learning Tree (1963), several books of poetry illustrated with his own photographs, and three volumes of memoirs.
In 1969, Parks became Hollywood's first major black director with his film adaptation of his autobiographical novel, The Learning Tree. Parks also composed the film's musical score and wrote the screenplay.
Shaft, Parks' 1971 detective film starring Richard Roundtree, became a major hit that spawned a series of blaxploitation films. Parks' feel for settings was confirmed by Shaft, with its portrayal of the super-cool leather-clad black private detective hired to find the kidnapped daughter of a Harlem racketeer.
Parks also directed the 1972 sequel, Shaft's Big Score in which the protagonist finds himself caught in the middle of rival gangs of racketeers. Parks's other directorial credits included The Super Cops (1974), and Leadbelly (1976), a biopic of the blues musician Huddie Ledbetter.
In the 1980s, he made several films for television and composed the music and libretto for Martin, a ballet tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., which premiered in Washington, D.C. in 1989 and was screened on national television on King's birthday in 1990.
In 1981, Parks turned to fiction with Shannon, a novel about Irish immigrants fighting their way up the social ladder in turbulent early 20th-century New York. Parks' writing accomplishments include novels, poetry, autobiography, and non-fiction including photographic instructional manuals and filmmaking books. Parks also wrote a poem called "The Funeral".
A self-taught pianist, Parks composed Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1953) and Tree Symphony (1967). In 1989, he composed and choreographed Martin, a ballet dedicated to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Parks also performed as a jazz pianist.
Parks was also a campaigner for civil rights; subject of film and print profiles, notably Half Past Autumn in 2000; and had a gallery exhibit of his photo-related, abstract oil paintings in 1981.
Parks was married and divorced three times. His wives were Sally Alvis, Elizabeth Campbell and Genevieve Young, a book editor whom he married in 1973 and divorced in 1979. For many years, Parks was romantically involved with the railroad heiress and designer Gloria Vanderbilt.[1]
Parks lived at the fashionable New York address of 860 United Nations Plaza on the east side.
Gordon Parks died of cancer at the age of 93.


GORDON PARKS. Ingrid Bergman at Stromboli, 1949

 

693. MARILYN NANCE. First Annual Community Baptism for the Afrikan Family, New York City, 1986.
Gelatin silver print. Marie Brown Associates, New York.
 

In common with African Americans, who sometimes have felt that white photographers were unable to under-stand black culture and therefore depict it with sympathy, Native and Latin Americans and other minorities have regarded their portrayal by others as often insensitive or distorted. While postmodern strategies such as the addition of texts to images appeal to many photographers from these groups, straight documentation offers Greg Staats (of the Mohawk Nation) and Lee Marmon and Maggie Steber (of Laguna and Cherokee ancestry, respectively) the means to explore what they regard as their own personal and social identities. Their images provide a sympathetic view of ceremonies, rituals, and modes of living with which few outsiders are familiar.

The photographers commissioned by labor unions and government agencies during the 1960s and '70s continued the tradition of social documentation, producing images intended to make visible conditions that needed changing. In the manner of Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine, they sought to do more than just record working and living environments; they wanted to make viewers aware of the effects of degrading conditions on the individual. Like all enduring social documentation, Earl Dotter's image of a mine disaster in Scotia, West Virginia (pi. no. 694), can stand on its own as an evocation of grief, but its forcefulness is increased by seeing it in concert with his other images of the aftermath of a fire and explosion in this mining community.

The gradual decline of labor and arts agency sponsor-ship as well as the reduction in the number of magazines commissioning picture stories has forced photographers who remain interested in social issues to seek other means of supporting their work. Images by Ken Light, which illuminate the struggle of Mexican immigrants to find jobs in the United States; by Deborah Fleming Caffery of sugarcane workers in Louisiana; and by Eugene Richards. Howard Schatz, and Stephen Shames of the effects of poverty throughout the country now reach the public primarily in books and on gallery walls. Nevertheless, commissions for images with a social message have not  disappeared. Susan Meisclas, working in Nicaragua (pi. no. 793) and El Salvador in the 1970s and '80s; Donna Ferrato, portraying domestic violence in the United States (pi. no. 695); and Maggie Steber and Alex Webb, each photographing the disturbances in Haiti in the early to mid-1990s, all have had their work commissioned by magazines as well as exhibited and published in books. However, photographers with social agendas ordinarily face not only a shrinking number of outlets for their images but also shorter assignment periods, which makes photographing complex social and political situations difficult. In addition, they confront loss of control over their images, brought about by the digitization of photographing and editing (see A Short Technical History, Part III).

Photographers working on their own socially motivated projects during the 1980s faced other challenges. One was the observation on the part of some critics that photographing the poor (other than by someone within the community) was a form of exploitation; another was that street photography in innercity areas had become more dangerous. A few individuals continued their forays into difficult neighborhoods—among them, Thomas Frederick Arndt (pi. no. 696)—but many wishing to address the human condition essayed other subjects. Their projects might be socially oriented, such as Nicholas Nixon's work among the visually impaired (pi. no. 697), or personally directed, as in Sally Mann's ongoing depiction of the cloistered world of her three children, one of whom is seen here emerging into girlhood in an edenic setting (pi, no. 698).

A quite different aspect of camera documentation, which emerged in the 1970s as a reflection of the more tolerant attitude toward drugs and sex among young people in the United States, continues to hold sway. One example of this new freedom to document explicit behavior is seen in the photographs that constitute the book Tulsa (pi. no. 699) by Larry Clark (who went on to direct a motion picture depicting similarly antisocial behavior). The images convey the unsettling self-destructiveness of young people who, finding no niche for themselves in bourgeois society, have become part of the drug culture. Attaining cult status, Tulsa appears to have persuaded other photographers to investigate areas previously considered off-limits other than for publication in frankly erotic or pornographic magazines. For example, in The Ballad of Sexual Dependency and in later works—including one project, entitled Tokyo Love, done with Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki—the photographer Nan Goldin sought to reveal the illusions and actualities of relationships by documenting physical and psychological pairings. Like many other photographic documentations, these images depend for effect on a multipart format, either in publication or exhibition, because the images arc usually less compelling individually than when viewed within a larger sequence.

The relaxation of restrictive notions as to what land of sexual imagery might constitute serious photographic expression rather than pornography coincided with the emergence in the 1970s of significant feminist and gay rights movements, which sought to raise consciousness about gender roles in .society and specifically about the depiction of women and homosexuals. Many of the photographers addressing these issues found straight photography too confining (see Chapter 12), but a number did employ this mode to picture their own gender more perceptively. Anne Noggle depicted herself after cosmetic surgery and as she aged, Judy Dater photographed her own body in the nude as well as making portraits of other women as they themselves wished to be presented (pi. no. 733), and Robert Mapplethorpe portrayed aspects of homo-erotic experience. Paradoxically, the explicit sexuality in some of this imagery, along with the greater publicity given to all types of sexual behavior in the media, has triggered a backlash, with legal actions being initiated even against parents who portray their own children in the nude.
 

 

694. EARL DOTTER. Scotia Mine Disaster, [976.
Gelatin silver print. Private collection.

695. DONNA FERRATO. Jackie in the Hospital, Colorado, 1984.
Gelatin silver print. Domestic Abuse Awareness Project, New York.

696. THOMAS FREDERICK ARNDT. Men Riding Bus, Las Vegas, 1981.
Gelatin silver print. Stuart B. Baum Gallery, Chicago.

697. NICHOLAS NIXON. Joel Geiger— Perkins School for the Blind, 1992.
Gelatin silver print. Zabriskic Gallery, New York.

698. SALLY MANN. Jessie at 9, 1991.
Gelatin silver print. Houk Friedman Gallery. New York.

699. LARRY CLARK. Untitled, 1971.
Gelatin silver print. Courtesv Larry Clark

 
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