Monday, April 20, 2009

The Social Landscape

Here's a mixed bag of announcements and invites for three photojournalists interested in the social landscape: Guy Tillim, of South Africa; Esther Bubley; and Marvin E. Newman.

Marvin E. Newman

Stiff card stock; 10 x 7 inches,
folded once to produce a 5 x 7 card that opens horizontally




Marvin E. Newman (b. 1927) was a freelance photojournalist who contributed extensively to Sports Illustrated, Life, Look, Newsweek, Smithsonian and Esquire. He had a one-man show at Roy DeCarava's “A Photographer's Gallery” in 1956. In 1952, he was one of the first students to earn a Masters Degree in Photography from Chicago's Institute of Design, where he studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. While at the ID, he and Yasuhiro Ishimoto would shoot on the street together. They also made the film The Church on Maxwell Street, which documents the sights and sounds of a revivalist church. Prior to that, Newman got his BA from Brooklyn College under the tutelage of Walter Rosenblum and Berenice Abbott.

Now, as I was researching Newman's biography, I repeatedly came across the claim that he won the national contest for American Photography magazine in 1950. He did not. He was however one of 6 winners in the 1951 American Photography contest. That was the first year that it was decided that the judges were "reluctant to designate a 'first' or 'second' prize winner from among the half-dozen prints that they agreed upon as having the most merit." One of the three judges was Walter Rosenblum, by the way.

(If there is any interest, I'll post his winning photo.)

Esther Bubley

Stiff card stock; 7.75 x 5.5 inches



Esther Bubley by Gordon Parks

Esther Bubley was born in Wisconsin in 1921, studied photography in Minneapolis and eventually ended up in Washington, D.C., where she was hired by Roy Stryker to work in the FSA darkroom. In her off-hours, she made photographs of life in the city's boarding houses for war workers. Based on this work, Stryker hired her to work with the Office of War Information, the U.S. government agency created during World War II to handle all foreign and domestic propaganda. One of her best known projects was documenting long-distance bus travel by war workers which she later reprised for Standard Oil, where she went to work after the war, having followed Stryker there. Shortly after, she struck out on her own as a freelance photojournalist shooting extensively for Life. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and she had a one-person show at Helen Gee's Limelight. In 2005, Aperture published a book of her work. She died in 1998.

Guy Tillim

Stiff card stock; 8.25 x 11.5 inches,
folded once to produce an 8.25 x 5.75 inch card that opens vertically




Guy Tillim from BOOKphotoSA's photostream on flicker

Guy Tillim (b. 1962) started his career as a photojournalist with the group Afrapix, a South African collective of photographers. Since the tail-end of the 90s, he has concentrated on documentary work of the lives of third world Africans and of people in war-stricken areas. He has garnered many awards and has quite a few books to his credit. This piece is an invite to a show of his work commissioned by the DaimlerChrysler corporation after he won the 2004 DaimlerChrysler Award for South African photography.

On the difference between a news photographer and a documentary photographer, the latter being what he now considers himself, he was quoted in the Harvard University Gazette:

"A news photographer thrusts an image in your face and says, look how different this is from your world. A documentary photographer shows you an image and says, look how much the same this is. I like to show similarities between people. I think that's a worthwhile thing to do."

Here is a 2005 interview with Tillim from the Natal Witness and here is one from 2008 in a.Magazine.

No comments: