I first came across Paul Strand’s work when I signed up to Ted Forbes podcast about a few years ago. So when I heard about this exhibition, I quickly added it to my calendar with plenty of reminders in order not to miss.
I went to the exhibition, two weeks after it opened and it definitely not to be missed.
Prior to visiting the exhibition, I was only familiar with the his early work such as the vary popular “Wall Street” image. What I stuck to me with his work is that his composition. By studying his work along with others masters, I learned the fundamentals of composition.
Through this exhibition, I became aware of his accomplishments as a photographer.
After the second World War, Paul Strand travelled the world. He left New York in 1949 after being disillusioned with his homeland’s post war and visited Italy, France, Ghana and the Outer Hebrides. It was in these later years that he created some of his most evocative pictures, challenging the perception that he is more than a photographer of America’s people, landscape and urban architecture.
During this exhibition, I was able to see prints of his well known pictures of New York as well as portraits from his 1954 study of people living on the South Uist, Scottish Hebrides plus his 1952 book La France de Profil – an homage to his adopted home and his hero Eugene Atget.
Other books on display include:
Un Paese – 1955
Tir A Mhurrain – 1954
Tir a’Mhurrain: Outer Hebrides – 1962
Living Egypt – 1969
Ghana: An African Portrait – 1976
Italy and France – 1955
Time in New England – 1950
He believed photography to be a medium for social change. Strand portrayed lives of ordinary people, their suffering and their dignity.
Part of the exhibit, was Paul Strand’s work of the 20s and 30s taken in Canada and Mexico. These images included landscapes, abstracts and also some architectural images and also quite a lot of impressive portraits.
It is also during this time that he became interested in using film to communicate his ideas. One of those films being Redes (The Wave). This feature film was commissioned by the Mexican government to tell the story of fishermen striking for better wages in Veracruz. Based on actual events that Strand witnessed.
He found that he was able to reach larger audiences by presenting his fine art prints in the form of books. From 1945 toward the end of his life, he devoted himself to a series of publications that focused specifically on places and people that lived there. He travelled in the US, Europe and Africa for these projects.
This exhibition was one of the most inspirational and well curated exhibition I’ve ever visited. It is on until the 3 July at the V&A Museum in London.
A definite must see.