Copublished with the Utah State Historical Society. Affiliated with the Utah Division of State History, Utah Department of Heritage & Arts
Andrew J. Russell is primarily known as the man who photographed the famous “East and West Shaking Hands” image of the Golden Spike ceremony on May 10, 1869. He also took nearly one thousand other images that document almost every aspect of the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. Across the Continent is the most detailed study to date of the life and work of an often-overlooked but prolific artist who contributed immensely not only to documentation of the railroad but also to the nation’s visualization of the American West and, earlier, the Civil War.
The central focus in the book is on the large body of work Russell produced primarily to satisfy the needs of the Union Pacific. Daniel Davis posits that this set of Russell’s photos is best understood not through one or a handful of individual images, but as a photographic archive. Taken as a whole, that archive shows that Russell intended for viewers never to forget who built the Union Pacific. His images celebrate working people—masons working on bridge foundations, freighters and their wagons, surveyors with their transits, engine crews posed on their engines, as well as tracklayers, laborers, cooks, machinists, carpenters, graders, teamsters, and clerks pushing paper.
Russell contributed to a golden age of Western photography that visually introduced the American West to the nation, changing its public image from that of a Great American Desert to a place of apparently unlimited economic potential.
In Bloodflowers W. Ian Bourland examines the photography of Rotimi Fani-Kayode (1955–1989), whose art is a touchstone for cultural debates surrounding questions of gender and queerness, race and diaspora, aesthetics and politics, and the enduring legacy of slavery and colonialism. Born in Nigeria, Fani-Kayode moved between artistic and cultural worlds in Washington, DC, New York, and London, where he produced the bulk of his provocative and often surrealist and homoerotic photographs of black men. Bourland situates Fani-Kayode's work in a time of global transition and traces how it exemplified and responded to profound social, cultural, and political change. In addition to his formal analyses of Fani-Kayode's portraiture, Bourland outlines the important influence that surrealism, neo-Romanticism, Yoruban religion, the AIDS crisis, experimental film, loft culture, and house and punk music had on Fani-Kayode's work. In so doing, Bourland offers new perspectives on a pivotal artist whose brief career continues to resonate with deep aesthetic and social meaning.
Nicknamed the "Eye of Paris" by Henry Miller, Brassaï was one of the great European photographers of the twentieth century. This volume of letters and photographs, many published for the first time, chronicles the fascinating early years of Brassaï's life and artistic development in Paris and Berlin during the 1920s and 1930s.
"[Brassaï] is probably the only photographer—at least in France—to have acquired such a vast audience and mastered his material to such a degree that he can express himself with a flexibility and apparent ease that is almost literary in its nature."—Jean Gallien, Photo-Monde
"The letters that Brassaï wrote to his parents between 1920 and 1940 chronicle the sometimes painful stages by which this gifted man hauled himself from penury to celebrity."—Peter Hamilton, Times Literary Supplement
"In these proud, protective, occasionally conscience-stricken missives, the young man full of eager dreams emerges as one of the century's pioneering photographers, revered for his lushly atmospheric portraits of Paris after dark."—Elle
"A fascinating insight into how a bright individual slowly found his calling."—Christine Schwartz Hartley, New York Times Book Review
Dean Worcester’s Fantasy Islands brings to life one of the most significant (but under examined) figures in the history of U.S. colonialism in the Philippines. Upon the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Worcester, a scientist who had traveled twice to the Philippines on zoological expeditions, established himself as one of America’s leading experts on the Philippines. Over a fourteen-year career as a member of the U.S. colonial regime, Worcester devoted much of his time and energy to traveling among and photographing non-Christian minority groups in the Philippines. He amassed an archive of several thousand photographs taken by him or by government photographers. Worcester deployed those photographs in books, magazine articles, and lectures to promote his belief that the United States should maintain control of the Philippines for decades to come. While many historians have examined American colonial photography in the Philippines, this book is the first lengthy treatment of Worcester’s role in shaping American perceptions of the Philippines in the early twentieth century.
Tricia Bauer University of Alabama Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3552.A83647F38 2010 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Father Flashes reimagines what the novel can be or do. Composed of stunning vignettes that capture the deterioration of a father’s mind and body, this novel provides poetic insight into the complex workings of a father-daughter relationship. As the father collapses, what appears is the daughter’s struggle to simply cope. In prose composed of intense and moving shards, Tricia Bauer delivers a revealing account of the gradual decomposition of all that is familiar and of a daughter’s gathering of memories to form the arresting collage that is Father Flashes.
The Fisher King: A Novel
Anthony Powell University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress PR6031.O74F57 2004 | Dewey Decimal 823.912
Aboard the Alecto, prolific romance author Valentine Beals ruminates on the ship's most seemingly incongruous couple: a graceful, ethereal, virginal dancer named Barberina Rookwood and her lover, Saul Henchman, a crippled, emasculated war hero and photographer. Fancifully, Beals imagines Henchman to be the reembodiment of one of the most mysterious Arthurian legends, the Fisher King—the maimed and impotent ruler of a barren country of whom Perceval failed to ask the right questions. A myth with many permutations—and a blurred borderland between them—the Fisher King legend dovetails the various explanations Powell offers from his competing narrators as to why a talented young dancer would forsake her art to care for a feeble older man.
Ostensibly a novel about gossip on a cruise ship, The Fisher King is much more: a highly stylized narrative infused with Greek mythology, legend, and satire.
"My energies for near a lifetime have been used almost entirely to win such prominence as I could in outdoor photography."—H. H. Bennett
Henry Hamilton Bennett (1843–1908) became a celebrated photographer in the half-century following the American Civil War. Bennett is admired for his superb depictions of dramatic landscapes of the Dells of the Wisconsin River and also for his many technical innovations in photography, including a stop-action shutter and a revolving solar printing house that is now housed at the Smithsonian Institution. With his instantaneous shutter, he gained recognition for his striking images of moving subjects, such as lumber raftsmen shooting the river rapids and his son Ashley leaping in midair from a bluff to the craggy pillar of Stand Rock. Less well-known are Bennett’s splendid urban photographs of nineteenth-century Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul.
This engaging biography of H. H. Bennett tells his life story, illustrated throughout with his remarkable photographs, some of them rarely viewed before. It draws on the photographer’s own letters and journals, along with other family documents, to portray the sweep of his career and personal life. An important figure in the history of photography, he also contributed to the growth of American tourism: his nationally distributed stereoscopic views of Dells rock formations and his portraits of local Ho-Chunk Indians played a significant role in creating the Wisconsin Dells as the popular tourist destination it is today. Despite personal challenges—a crippling Civil War injury, the death of his first wife, and continual financial worries—Bennett produced an extensive portfolio that captures the midwestern culture of his time. He accepted commissions in the 1890s to document Chicago’s modern skyscrapers, grand residences of Milwaukee’s entrepreneurs and sailing ships in its harbor, enormous scenic panoramas along the routes of Wisconsin railroads, and sparkling ice palaces lit by fireworks at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.
Finalist, Midwest Regional Interest, Midwest Book Awards
Working in Germany between the two world wars, John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld, 1891–1968) developed an innovative method of appropriating and reusing photographs to powerful political effect. As a pioneer of modern photomontage, he sliced up mass media photos with his iconic scissors and then reassembled the fragments into compositions that utterly transformed the meaning of the originals. In John Heartfield and the Agitated Image, Andrés Mario Zervigón explores this crucial period in the life and work of a brilliant, radical artist whose desire to disclose the truth obscured by the mainstream press and imperial propaganda made him a de facto prosecutor of Germany’s visual culture.
Zervigón charts the evolution of Heartfield’s photomontage from an act of antiwar resistance into a formalized and widely disseminated political art in the Weimar Republic. Appearing on everything from campaign posters to book covers, the photomonteur’s notorious pictures challenged well-worn assumption and correspondingly walked a dangerous tightrope over the political, social, and cultural cauldron that was interwar Germany. Zervigón explains how Heartfield’s engagement with montage arose from a broadly-shared dissatisfaction with photography’s capacity to represent the modern world. The result was likely the most important combination of avant-garde art and politics in the twentieth century.
A rare look at Heartfield’s early and middle years as an artist and designer, this book provides a new understanding of photography’s role at this critical juncture in history.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the photographer Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky undertook a quest to document an empire that was undergoing rapid change due to industrialization and the building of railroads. Between 1903 and 1916 Prokudin-Gorsky, who developed a pioneering method of capturing color images on glass plates, scoured the Russian Empire with the patronage of Nicholas II. Intrepidly carrying his cumbersome and awkward camera from the western borderlands over the Volga River to Siberia and central Asia, he created a singular record of Imperial Russia. In 1918 Prokudin-Gorsky escaped an increasingly chaotic, violent Russia and regained nearly 2,000 of his bulky glass negatives. His subsequent peripatetic existence before settling in Paris makes his collection's survival all the more miraculous. The U.S. Library of Congress acquired Prokudin-Gorsky's collection in 1948, and since then it has become a touchstone for understanding pre-revolutionary Russia. Now digitized and publicly available, his images are a sensation in Russia, where people visit websites dedicated to them. William Craft Brumfield—photographer, scholar, and the leading authority on Russian architecture in the West—began working with Prokudin-Gorsky's photographs in 1985. He curated the first public exhibition of them in the United States and has annotated the entire collection. In Journeys through the Russian Empire, Brumfield—who has spent decades traversing Russia and photographing buildings and landscapes in their various stages of disintegration or restoration—juxtaposes Prokudin-Gorsky's images against those he took of the same buildings and areas. In examining the intersections between his own photography and that of Prokudin-Gorsky, Brumfield assesses the state of preservation of Russia's architectural heritage and calls into question the nostalgic assumptions of those who see Prokudin-Gorsky's images as the recovery of the lost past of an idyllic, pre-Soviet Russia. This lavishly illustrated volume—which features some 400 stunning full-color images of ancient churches and mosques, railways and monasteries, towns and remote natural landscapes—is a testament to two brilliant photographers whose work prompts and illuminates, monument by monument, questions of conservation, restoration, and cultural identity and memory.
Siegfried Kracauer was a leading figure on the Weimar arts scene and one of the foremost representatives of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Best known for a wealth of writings on sociology and film theory, his influence is felt in the work of many of the period’s preeminent thinkers, including the critic Theodor W. Adorno, who once claimed he owed more to Kracauer than any other intellectual.
Kracauer.Photographic Archive, a companion volume to The Past’s Threshold: Essays on Photography, collects previously unpublished photographs by Siegfried and Elisabeth, “Lili,” Kracauer. With its remarkably rich material, the book tells the story of the Kracauer’s close working relationship, from their marriage in Germany to their escape to Paris and the war and postwar years in the United States. While neither Kracauer nor his wife trained in photography, their portraits, city views, and landscapes evince impressive aesthetic and technical skill, while simultaneously shedding light on their lives marked by exile and flight.
Lee Miller: A Life
Carolyn Burke University of Chicago Press, 2007 Library of Congress TR140.M55B87 2007 | Dewey Decimal 779.092
Lee Miller’s life embodied all the contradictions and complications of the twentieth century: a model and photographer, muse and reporter, sexual adventurer and domestic goddess, she was also America's first female war correspondent. Carolyn Burke, a biographer and art critic, here reveals how the muse who inspired Man Ray, Cocteau, and Picasso could be the same person who unflinchingly photographed the horrors of Buchenwald and Dachau. Burke captures all the verve and energy of Miller’s life: from her early childhood trauma to her stint as a Vogue model and art-world ingénue, from her harrowing years as a war correspondent to her unconventional marriages and passion for gourmet cooking. A lavishly illustrated story of art and beauty, sex and power, Modernism and Surrealism, Lee Miller illuminates an astonishing woman’s journey from art object to artist.
Living with His Camera
Jane Gallop Duke University Press, 2003 Library of Congress TR140.B517G35 2003 | Dewey Decimal 306.8
Photography is usually written about from the point of view of either the photographer or the viewer. Living with His Camera offers a perspective rarely represented—that of the photographed subject. Dick Blau has been making art photographs of the people he lives with for more than thirty years; cultural theorist Jane Gallop has been living with him—and his camera—for twenty years.
Living with His Camera is Gallop’s nuanced meditation on photography and the place it has in her private life and in her family. A reflection on family, it attempts—like Blau’s photographs themselves—to portray the realities of family life beyond the pieties of conventional representations. Living with His Camera is about some of the most pressing issues of visuality and some of the most basic issues of daily life. Gallop considers intimate photographs of moments both dramatic and routine: of herself giving birth to son Max or crying in the midst of an argument with Blau, pouring herself cereal as Max colors at the breakfast table, or naked, sweeping the floor. With her trademark candor, humor, and critical acumen, Gallop mixes personal reflection with close readings of Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida, Susan Sontag’s On Photography, Kathryn Harrison’s novel Exposure, and Pierre Bourdieu’s Photography.
Presenting his photographs and her text, Living with His Camera is a portrait of a couple whose professional activity is part of their private lives and whose private life is viewed through their professional gazes. While most of us set aside rigorous thought when we turn to the sentimental realm of home life, Gallop and Blau look at each other not only with great affection but also with the keen focus of a sharp, critical gaze.
In 1903 the Cody Road opened, leading travelers from Cody, Wyoming, to Yellowstone National Park. Cheyenne photographer J. E. Stimson traveled the route during its first week in existence, documenting the road for the state of Wyoming's contribution to the 1904 World's Fair. His images of now-famous landmarks like Cedar Mountain, the Shoshone River, the Holy City, Chimney Rock, Sylvan Pass, and Sylvan Lake are some of the earliest existing photographs of the route. In 2008, 105 years later, Michael Amundson traveled the same road, carefully duplicating Stimson's iconic original photographs. In Passage to Wonderland, these images are paired side by side and accompanied by a detailed explanation of the land and history depicted.
Amundson examines the physical changes along "the most scenic fifty miles in America" and explores the cultural and natural history behind them. This careful analysis of the paired images make Passage to Wonderland more than a "then and now" photography book--it is a unique exploration of the interconnectedness between the Old West and the New West. It will be a wonderful companion for those touring the Cody Road as well as those armchair tourists who can follow the road on Google Earth using the provided GPS coordinates.
The University Press of Colorado gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University toward the publication of this book.
Photography and Egypt
Maria Golia Reaktion Books, 2010 Library of Congress TR117.G65 2010 | Dewey Decimal 770.962
Egypt immediately conjures images of the pyramids, the temples and the Sphinx in the desert. Early photographs of Egypt took these ancient monuments as their primary subjects, and these have remained hugely influential in constructing our view of the country. But while Egypt and its monuments have been regularly photographed by foreigners, little has been known about the early days of photography among Egyptians. Photography and Egypt examines both, considering images from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, including studio portraits, landscapes and photojournalism.
Two forces drove photography’s early development in Egypt: its link as an essential tool of archaeology and the accelerating effects of archaeological photographs on the burgeoning tourism industry. In this book, Maria Golia examines these twin drives, through the work of Europeans who travelled to Egypt as well as early Egyptian and Middle Eastern photographers. Golia examines how photography was also employed for propaganda purposes, including depictions of celebrated soldiers, workers and farmers; and how studio-based photography was used to portray the growing Egyptian middle class. Today’s young photographic artists, Golia reveals, use the medium to celebrate everyday life and to indict political and social conditions, with photography bearing witness to history––as well as helping to shape it.
Illustrated with a rich, sometimes surprising variety of images, many published for the first time in the West, Photography and Egypt is the first book to relate the story of Egypt’s rapport with photography in one concise and highly readable account.
Gustave Le Gray (1820-1882) was one of the most technically accomplished and aesthetically enlightened of the early "artist-photographers." Trained as a painter of portraits and landscapes, Le Gray was attracted in the 1840s to the artistic potential of photographic processes. As a photographer he evolved and refined much of photography's primary aesthetic theory. By 1855 he had influenced, if not taught, every important photographer in France.
Drawing on entirely new material Eugenia Parry Janis fully analyzes the life and work of Le Gray and demonstrates the originality of his artistic achievement in the context of discoveries about his personal and professional history. Janis, approaching the photographs of Le Gray with the methods and sensibilities of an art historian, reveals telling connections between Le Gray's choices of subject matter and formal means of presentation and the existing pictorial practice of other media such as painting. This same approach makes her sensitive to Le Gray's departures from such traditional practice, and she skillfully illustrates how he evolved from student painter into master photographer. In doing so she gives us a glimpse of the way in which Le Gray's manipulation of the photographic process was always informed by his pictorial needs and by his developing style.
In 1912, Shoki Kayamori and his box camera arrived in a small Tlingit village in southeast Alaska. At a time when Asian immigrants were forbidden to own property and faced intense racial pressure, the Japanese-born Kayamori put down roots and became part of the Yakutat community. For three decades he photographed daily life in the village, turning his lens on locals and migrants alike, and gaining the nickname “Picture Man.” But as World War II drew near, his passion for photography turned dangerous, as government officials called out Kayamori as a potential spy. Despondent, Kayamori committed suicide, leaving behind an enigmatic photographic legacy.
In Picture Man, Margaret Thomas views Kayamori’s life through multiple lenses. Using Kayamori’s original photos, she explores the economic and political realities that sent Kayamori and thousands like him out of Japan toward opportunity and adventure in the United States, especially the Pacific Northwest. She reveals the tensions around Asian immigrants on the West Coast and the racism that sent many young men north to work in the canneries of Alaska. And she illuminates the intersecting—and at times conflicting—lives of villagers and migrants in a time of enormous change. Part history, part biography, part photographic showcase, Picture Man offers a fascinating new view of Alaska history.
For more than forty years, Helen M. Stummer has captured images depicting the dignity, humanity, and suffering of people living in conditions of poverty. Her efforts taught her to understand firsthand the resilience of people living in insufferable conditions. In her inspiring memoir, Risking Life and Lens, Stummer recounts her experiences as a socially-concerned documentary photographer whose passion for her work overcame her fears.
Stummer’s images, from the mean streets of Manhattan and Newark, New Jersey, to the back woods of Maine and the mountains of Guatemala, expose the myths of poverty and serve as a metaphor for her challenges in her own life. The 159 photographs reproduced here recount Stummer’s journey as an artist and her personal quest for truth.
Risking Life and Lens shares Stummer’s work and educational efforts and it provides valuable insights about race, class, and social justice—issues that continue to divide the country and the world. Her work has created change in both her own life and the lives of those who view it.
Shot in Alabama by Frances Osborn Robb is a visual and textual narrative of Alabama’s photographic history from 1839 to 1941. It describes the phenomenon of photography as practiced in Alabama as a major cultural force, paying close attention to the particular contexts from which each image emerges and the fragments of microhistory that each image documents.
Presented chronologically—from the very first photograph ever taken in the state to the appearance of cameras as commonplace possessions in mid-twentieth-century households—Robb draws into sharp relief the eras of daguerreotypes, Civil War photography, photographic portraiture at the end of the nineteenth century, urban and rural photography in the early twentieth century, WPA photography during the Great Depression, postcards and tourist photography, and pre–World War II illustrated books and art photographs. Robb also examines a wide spectrum of vernacular photography: Alabama-made photographs of everyday people and places, the photographs that fill dresser drawers and shoeboxes, a vast array of unusual images against which Alabama’s more typical iconography can be measured.
She also chronicles the work of hundreds of photographers—black and white, amateur and professional, women and men—some little-known outside their communities, some of them the medium’s most important practitioners. “Who Shot Alabama?” is an accompanying appendix that includes 1,400 photographers by name, working dates, and location—a resource that will help countless individuals, families, and archives identify the specific Alabama photographers whose names appear on family photographs or those in institutional collections.
Shot in Alabama is an insightful document of photography as both a communicator and creator of social, cultural, economic, and visual history. It highlights the very personal worlds rendered by individual photographs as well as the larger panorama of Alabama history as seen through the photographs collectively. A landmark work of research, curation, and scholarship, it fills the void of published history on Alabama photography and is an invaluable resource for historians, archivists, librarians, collectors, hobbyists, and readers with an interest in Alabama history or historic photography. Shot in Alabama is a book that all Alabamians will want on their coffee tables.
World War II soldier Bill Wynne met Smoky while serving in New Guinea, where the dog, who was smaller than Wynne’s army boot, was found trying to scratch her way out of a foxhole. After he adopted her, she served as the squadron mascot and is credited as being the first therapy dog for the emotional support she provided the soldiers. When they weren’t fighting, Bill taught Smoky hundreds of tricks to entertain the troops. Smoky became a war hero herself at an airstrip in Luzon, the Philippines, where she helped save forty airplanes and hundreds of soldiers from imminent attack.
After the war, Bill worked as a Hollywood animal trainer and then returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. He and Smoky continued to perform their act, even getting their own TV show, How to Train Your Dog with Bill Wynne and Smoky.
Nancy Roe Pimm presents Bill and Smoky’s story to middle-grade readers in delightful prose coupled with rich archival illustrations. Children will love learning about World War II from an unusual perspective, witnessing the power of the bond between a soldier and his dog, and seeing how that bond continued through the exciting years following the war.
A startling record of the Jazz Age through the eyes of one of its memorable figures
Between 1922 and 1930, Carl Van Vechten--one of the most significant figures of the Harlem Renaissance--kept a daily record of his activities. The records recount his day-to-day life, as well as the alliances, drinking habits, feuds, and affairs of a wide number of the period's luminaries, providing a rich resource for reconstructing the culture of 1920s New York and the social milieu during Prohibition. Bruce Kellner has provided copious informative notes identifying central figures and clarifying details.
The success of movies like The Artist and Hugo recreated the wonder and magic of silent film for modern audiences, many of whom might never have experienced a movie without sound. But while the American silent movie was one of the most significant popular art forms of the modern age, it is also one that is largely lost to us, as more than eighty percent of silent films have disappeared, the victims of age, disaster, and neglect. We now know about many of these cinematic masterpieces only from the collections of still portraits and production photographs that were originally created for publicity and reference. Capturing the beauty, horror, and moodiness of silent motion pictures, these images are remarkable pieces of art in their own right. In the first history of still camera work generated by the American silent motion picture industry, David S. Shields chronicles the evolution of silent film aesthetics, glamour, and publicity, and provides unparalleled insight into this influential body of popular imagery.
Exploring the work of over sixty camera artists, Still recovers the stories of the photographers who descended on early Hollywood and the stars and starlets who sat for them between 1908 and 1928. Focusing on the most culturally influential types of photographs—the performer portrait and the scene still—Shields follows photographers such as Albert Witzel and W. F. Seely as they devised the poses that newspapers and magazines would bring to Americans, who mimicked the sultry stares and dangerous glances of silent stars. He uncovers scene shots of unprecedented splendor—visions that would ignite the popular imagination. And he details how still photographs changed the film industry, whose growing preoccupation with artistry in imagery caused directors and stars to hire celebrated stage photographers and transformed cameramen into bankable names.
Reproducing over one hundred and fifty of these gorgeous black-and-white photographs, Still brings to life an entire long-lost visual culture that a century later still has the power to enchant.
In 1939, just before graduating from high school in the small town of Ridgeway in northeast Iowa, Everett Kuntz spent his entire savings of $12.50 on a 35mm Argus AF camera. He made a camera case from a worn-out boot, scraps from a tin can, and a clasp from his mother’s purse. For the next several years, especially during the summers when he worked on his parents’ dairy farm, he clicked the shutter of his trusty Argus all around the quiet town.
Everett bought movie reel film in bulk from a mail-order house, rolled his own film, and developed it in a closet at home, but he never had the money to print his photographs. More than two thousand negatives stayed in a box while he married, raised a family, and worked as an electrical engineer in the Twin Cities. When he became ill with cancer in the fall of 2002—sixty years after he had developed the last of his bulk film—Everett opened his time capsule and printed the images from his youth. He died in 2003, having brought his childhood town back to life just as he was leaving it.
A sense of peace radiates from these images. Whether skinny-dipping in the Turkey River, wheelbarrow-racing, threshing oats, milking cows, visiting with relatives after church, or hanging out at the drugstore or the movies, Ridgeway’s hardworking citizens are modest and trusting and luminous in their graceful harmony and their unguarded affection for each other. Visiting the town in 2006 as he was writing the text to accompany these photographs, Jim Heynen crafted vignettes that perfectly complement these rediscovered images by blending fact and fiction to give context and voice to Ridgeway’s citizens.
Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, including Arkady Shaykhet, Alexander Grinberg, Mark Markov-Grinberg, Evgenii Khaldei, Dmitrii Baltermants, and Max Alpert, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes presents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested-they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust.
These wartime photographers were the first liberators to bear witness with cameras to Nazi atrocities, three years before Americans arrived at Buchenwald and Dachau. In this passionate work, David Shneer tells their stories and highlights their work through their very own images-he has amassed never-before-published photographs from families, collectors, and private archives.
Through Soviet Jewish Eyes helps us understand why so many Jews flocked to Soviet photography; what their lives and work looked like during the rise of Stalinism, during and then after the war; and why Jews were the ones charged with documenting the Soviet experiment and then its near destruction at the hands of the Nazis.
Who was Vivian Maier? Many people know her as the reclusive Chicago nanny who wandered the city for decades, constantly snapping photographs, which were unseen until they were discovered in a seemingly abandoned storage locker. They revealed her to be an inadvertent master of twentieth-century American street photography. Not long after, the news broke that Maier had recently died and had no surviving relatives. Soon the whole world knew about her preternatural work, shooting her to stardom almost overnight.
But, as Pamela Bannos reveals in this meticulous and passionate biography, this story of the nanny savant has blinded us to Maier’s true achievements, as well as her intentions. Most important, Bannos argues, Maier was not a nanny who moonlighted as a photographer; she was a photographer who supported herself as a nanny. In Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife, Bannos contrasts Maier’s life with the mythology that strangers—mostly the men who have profited from her work—have created around her absence. Bannos shows that Maier was extremely conscientious about how her work was developed, printed, and cropped, even though she also made a clear choice never to display it. She places Maier’s fierce passion for privacy alongside the recent spread of her work around the world, and she explains Maier’s careful adjustments of photographic technique, while explaining how the photographs have been misconstrued or misidentified. As well, Bannos uncovers new information about Maier’s immediate family, including her difficult brother, Karl—relatives that once had been thought not to exist.
This authoritative and engrossing biography shows that the real story of Vivian Maier, a true visionary artist, is even more compelling than the myth.