Published on November 23, 2009
Photography in the1930's
Common Photographic Styles in the 1930's and the artists producing work in each style: Documentary/ Journalism Photography Dorothy Lange Walker Evans Fashion Photography George Hoyningen-Huene Horst Imogen Cunningham Edward St Art/ Landscape Photography Ansel Adams Edward Weston Imogen Cunningham
Documentary Photography: The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are among the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. Created by a group of U.S. government photographers, the images show Americans in every part of the nation. In the early years, the project emphasized rural life and the negative impact of the Great Depression, farm mechanization, and the Dust Bowl. In later years, the photographers turned their attention to the mobilization effort for World War II.
Documentary Photography: The FSA Project The FSA project: The Historic Section of the Resettlement Administration, later the Farm Security Administration (FSA), started the most ambitious photographic project of that period — and one of the most ambitious of all time. The project represented the New Deal's understanding that a visual documentation of conditions of work and life faced by farmers who suffered the hardships of drought and economic depression, and were in the process of being driven permanently from the land, was required to justify Federal expenditures for relief projects. Eventually in response to Congressional displeasure at the depiction of unrelieved poverty, photographers were directed to portray more positive aspects of the national experience.
Dorothy Lange: best known for her Depression -era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography . Lange is best known for her work documenting poor conditions of the migrant workers who traveled in large numbers to California during the Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s. Her photographs brought much-needed attention to their plight. Lange used photography to document the difficult period of the Depression and to motivate agencies and individuals to take action to improve the situation
Walker Evans: American photographer made famous by his work for the Farm Securities Administration documenting the effects of the depression. His work uses a large-format, dispassionate viewpoint to emphasize the plight of the American public during this period of economic unrest. He also focuses on the landscapes and architecture around him. Images like Furniture Store Sign, Birmingham, Alabama (1936) shows his ability for visual irony but backs it up by making a very valid social point.
Art/ Landscape Photography: The late 1920s and early 1930s were time of substantial social and economic unrest in the United States.The United States was suffering through the Great Depression, and people were seeking some respite from their everyday hardships. The American West was seen as the base for future for economic recovery because of massive public works projects like Hoover Dam. The public sought out news and images of the West because it represented a land of hope in an otherwise bleak time. They were increasingly attracted to images of photographers like Ansel Adams, whose strikingly detailed photographs o f the American West were seen as "pictorial testimony …of inspiration and redemptive power." Group f/64 was a group of seven 20th century San Francisco photographers who shared a common photographic style characterized by sharp-focused and carefully framed images seen through a particularly Western (U.S.) viewpoint. In part, they formed in opposition to the Pictorialist photographic style that had dominated much of the early 1900s, but moreover they wanted to promote a new Modernist aesthetic that was based on precisely expos ed images of natural forms and found objects
Ansel Easton Adams: was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West and primarily Yosemite National Park. For his images, he developed the zone system, a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs. Although his large-format view cameras were difficult to use because of their size, weight, setup time, and film cost, their high resolution ensured sharpness in his images.
Imogen Cunningham : was an American photographer known for her photography of botanicals, nudes and industry. Cunningham's concern for purity of image and clarity of detail became increasingly important during the 1920s. She became particularly interested in flora, gathering prime botanical specimens from her backyard and elsewhere. During 1923Ð25, Cunningham made an extended series of magnolia flower studies which became increasingly simplified as she sought to recognize the form within the object.
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