Exhibits: Paul Strand Prints in Ink, 1916-1983
A retrospective of Paul Strand's "straight" photography will be on display at Haverford College's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery from October 27 through December 3.
Entitled, "Paul Strand Prints in Ink, 1916-1983," the exhibit includes 62 gravures, platinum images and silver gelatin photographs as well as 12 publications of his works.
There will be an opening reception in the gallery on October 27 from 5p.m. to 7p.m.
One of the first photographers to present his work in ink, Paul Strand is best known for his contributions to "straight" photography, a style in which the camera is not manipulated for artistic effect. Strand minimized the role of the camera and allowed the people and places to become the main focus of his work.
Raised in New York City, Strand attended the Ethical Culture School. There he was taught by renowned photographer Lewis Hine and introduced to the European modernism of that time. He studied the formal structure of individual compositions and learned how a camera could reveal the geometry of the visual world.
After continuing his studies at a hobby league known as the New York Camera Club, Strand became affiliated with photographer Alfred Stieglitz and the Photo-Secessionists, a group obsessed with making photography a legitimate and accepted form of art. To that end, Strand's early works included many artistic, soft focus abstractions of both natural scenes and inanimate objects.
However, his style changed as he began to search the city for new subjects. He used the principles of his early abstractions to structure his un-posed, candid photographs of people and the modern world. Strand utilized his understanding of formal composition and geometry to make the people and their environment the center of his work in a way that honored humanity and revealed moments that connect people from all walks of life.
In 1930, Strand left New York and traveled west, where he intended to capture different people and cultures on film. After a brief stint in New Mexico, he ventured to Mexico where he became enamored with the inherent dignity of those rooted in the land. His work, which included photographs of Mexicans in their natural environment, became a source of cultural pride that inspired the rise of painter Diego Rivera and photographer Manuel Alvarez-Rivera.
Following his time in Mexico, Strand continued to travel to various parts of the world, including Africa and Scotland, in search of interesting people and cultures to photograph.
The works on display in the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery cover a broad range of places and times. The exhibit includes some 1916 platinum images of New York City, silver gelatins of Mexico in the 1930s and photogravures printed posthumously in 1983.
The wide array of Strand images in the gallery come from the collections of Haverford, Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr Colleges, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Paul Strand's longtime friends Walter and Naomi Rosenblum.
In conjunction with the exhibition, five scholars will present gallery talks about carious aspects of Strand's career including his perception of the visual world and his impact on photography, art and various cultures. Each talk will be given at 4:15p.m:
October 27 - Photographer and Haverford professor of fine arts William E. Williams will discuss the significance of Paul Strand's long and prolific career, while James Krippner-Martinez, an assistant professor of history at the college, will talk about what Strand's photographs meant to the cultures that he captured on film.
November 8 - Kate Ware, of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will analyze the images in Strand's first Mexican portfolio.
November 15 - Naomi Rosenblum will talk about the way Strand collaborated with printer and his beliefs about prints in ink.
November 16 - Walter Rosenblum will discuss how Strand interacted with the subjects of his photographs.
The exhibit and lectures are free and open to he public.