Archive for the 'reality' Category

04
Feb
23

Exhibition: ‘Jan Groover. Laboratory of Forms’ at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris

Exhibition dates: 8th November 2022 – 12th February 2023

Exhibition curators: Tatyana Franck, President of the French Institute Alliance Française in New York, former director of Photo Elysée Emilie and Delcambre Hirsch Agnès Sire, Artistic director, for the Paris version

 

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1971

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1971
Diptych
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groove

 

 

Formalism is everything

Well no. No it isn’t. Groover is not one of my favourite photographers but I acknowledge how she broadened the definition of what a photograph can be. But her photographs are too clinical for my taste. They leave me cold. I like a little serendipity and spirit in my photography…

A painter before she became a photographer.

All images are constructions.

She composed her photographs as artists compose their paintings.

She wanted to “reinvent everything”.

Still life were influenced by Edward Weston, Paul Outerbridge and Alfred Stieglitz.

The reality is in the detail.

Nothing was left to chance. Every photograph had a plan:

“Spotlight on the house sink: who would have thought that so much beauty was nestled there? Reflection of a fork, transparency of a glass, sliding of water, damaged enamel, burning of coffee: under its tight framing, effects and materials are intertwined. Nothing is left to chance, each arrangement is first sketched out in pencil, tested with Polaroid.”1

 

concept [of] space

elements [of] reality

perception [of] image

photographs [of] objects

 

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

1/ Emmanuelle Lequeux. “Jan Groover, l’abstraction du réel,” on the Le Monde website 18 September 2019 [Online] Cited 10/01/2022. Translated from the French by Google Translate

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Many thankx to the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

“And then one day I had the thought that I didn’t want to have to make everything up, so I quit painting. Then I found out that you have to make everything up anyway.”

.
Jan Groover, in Pure invention: The Tabletop Still Life, 1990

 

“I had some wild concept that you could change space – which you can… If the thing doesn’t look like the way I want it to look, I’ll try something else.”

.
Jan Groover, 1994

 

 

 

 

Interview with Tatyana Franck around the Jan Groover. Laboratory of Forms exhibition

A singular artist, Jan Groover (1943-2012), of American origin, had a considerable impact on the recognition of colour photography. This exhibition, the first retrospective to be dedicated to her since her death in 2012, shows the evolution of her work, from her original polyptychs to the still lifes that she would produce throughout her life. Thanks to the donation of Jan Groover’s archives to Photo Elysée (Lausanne) in 2017, this exhibition, presented in 2019 in Lausanne, pays tribute to an artist who has constantly renewed herself, thus becoming part of the history of photography.

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1971

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1971
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1975

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1975
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1975

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1975
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1975

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1975
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

 

Exhibition

Born in the United States, singular artist Jan Groover (1943-2012) played a significant role in the appreciation of colour photography. In the first retrospective since her death in 2012, the exhibition shows the development of Groover’s work, from original polyptychs to still lifes she produced throughout her career. Thanks to a donation from the Jan Groover archives at Photo Elysée (Lausanne) in 2017, the exhibition, shown in Lausanne in 2019, pays tribute to an artist who constantly reinvented herself, thus leaving her mark on the history of photography.

Jan Groover took up photography as a sort of challenge. Noting that “photography wasn’t taken seriously” in the United States in the 1960s, she distanced herself from abstract painting, which she’d previously studied. In 1967, Groover bought her first camera in what she described as her “first adult decision.” Her fondness for abstraction and the pictorial can already be seen in her first series of polyptychs, where the subject is multiplied, divided, or hidden behind opaque forms to the point of negation.

Starting in the late 1970s, Groover turned to the still life, a traditional genre in pictorial art, experimenting with it until the end of her life through impressively diverse subjects, formats and techniques. At a time when documentary photography was at the forefront in magazines like LIFE, Groover applied her background in painting to photography, giving abstract photography due credit by creating images for the sake of form, far from signification and statement. On top of her still lifes, Groover also produced series on freeways, portraits, and Body Parts.

As an actor in rendering the photographic medium more versatile – a property then attributed to painting and drawing – Groover explored different creative techniques, as in the use of platinum and palladium prints for her urban series and portraits of close friends (John Coplans or Janet Borden, with whom she was in constant intellectual dialogue).

In Jan Groover. Laboratory of Forms, colour and black-and-white vintage prints are presented, along with the artist’s work materials (polaroids, notebooks, etc.). The exhibition explores Groover’s artistic process and gives us insight into the experimental nature of her work and her influence on modern photography.

 

Biography

Born on April 24, 1943, in Plainfield, New Jersey, Jan Groover first studied abstract painting at the Pratt Institute in New York before taking up photography, with the purchase of her first camera in the early 1970s. This marked the beginning of a diverse career made of polyptychs, series of shots of the same location, portraits and still lifes (a recurring theme of her art). In 1970, she earned a Master’s in Art Education from Ohio State University, Columbus. She then moved to New York with her partner, painter and art critic Bruce Boice.

In New York, a center of contemporary art, she gradually gained recognition on the art scene and experimented with other techniques in photography, like platinum/palladium prints.

In 1974, the Light Gallery put on her first solo exhibition, and in 1978 she received a grant from the federal agency National Endowment for the Arts. As a respected teacher at Purchase College, she taught photographers Gregory Crewdson, Laurie Simmons and Philip-Lorca diCorcia, for a few.

In 1987, the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) held a retrospective on Groover’s work.

The Groover-Boice couple turned in this way on the New York art scene until 1991, the year they settled in the Dordogne region of France. Groover continued her series of still lifes despite falling ill in 1998. The couple gained French nationality in 2005. Jan Groover passed away a few years later, on January 1st, 2012.

Thanks to Bruce Boice’s donation, Photo Elysée in Lausanne was able to expand its collection with the archive of Jan Groover, including a great majority of her work as well as unpublished archival material from her studio. The museum ensures the conservation, study and distribution of the archive.

Text from the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson website

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' Nd

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
Nd
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1978

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1978
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1978

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1978
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

 

In 1978, another radical turning point. Jan Groover focuses all her efforts on still life. Spotlight on the house sink: who would have thought that so much beauty was nestled there? Reflection of a fork, transparency of a glass, sliding of water, damaged enamel, burnt coffee: under its tight framing, effects and materials are intertwined. Nothing is left to chance, each arrangement is first sketched out in pencil, tested with Polaroid. In fact, she has never stopped painting: she simply does it with the elements of reality. Her challenge, “that the entire surface of the photo have the same magnetism and the same importance,” summarises the painter Bruce Boice, her husband.

Resounding success: her Kitchen Still Lifes establish her as an immense visual artist. In the eyes of Susan Kismaric, curator in the photography department at MoMA in New York, she invented “nothing less than a resplendent new way of seeing”. An “anomaly of the photographic world”? Some call it that. But of those who have a sacred heritage: initiated by Jan Groover, photographers Gregory Crewdson and Philip-Lorca diCorcia bring her composition lessons to incandescence.

Emmanuelle Lequeux. “Jan Groover, l’abstraction du réel,” on the Le Monde website 18 September 2019 [Online] Cited 10/01/2022. Translated from the French by Google Translate

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1978

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1978
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1978

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1978
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled (Ealan Wingate)' c. 1980

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled (Ealan Wingate)
c. 1980
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

 

A summary inventory of Groover’s archive tallied a total of 11,663 negatives, 525 slides, and 9,485 paper prints, along with unpublished drawings and all of her camera equipment. “Jan Groover was not only interested in beautiful prints, but she was very much interested in techniques, and the artisanal way of making images,” says Franck. “We were very lucky to have been able to find a complete laboratory with all of her prints, negatives, everything was kept in her house.”

Marigold Warner. “Jan Groover: Laboratory of Forms,” on the British Journal of Photography website 8th November 2019 [Online] Cited 10/01/2022.

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled (Mel Bochner)' 1980

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled (Mel Bochner)
1980
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' 1983

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
1983
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1981

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1981
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1983

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1983
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

 

An unpublished exhibition, from the artist’s archive

This exhibition looks back over the life’s work of Jan Groover (1943- 2012), the American photographer whose personal collection was added to the Musée de l’Elysée’s collections in 2017. Based on a selection of archives from her personal collections, the exhibition evokes not only the artist’s years in New York but also her years in France – a less known part of her career. With the will to enrich research on Jan Groover, the exhibition displays the first results of the considerable work on the collection conducted by the museum – from the perspective both of conservation as well as historical documentation.

 

Formalism is everything

Taking Jan Groover’s statement as a guiding principle, the exhibition highlights the eminently plastic design pursued by the photographer throughout her career. Conducted in a spirit of endless experimentation, this research and the creative process it involves are emphasised not only by the presentation of early tests and experiments but also by the inclusion of unique documents, notes and preparatory notebooks.

In the early 1970s, abandoning her earlier vocation as a painter, Jan Groover began to attract attention with her photographic polyptychs constructed around the motifs of the road, cars and the urban environment. As the early stages of her formal and aesthetic explorations, they offer an opportunity to re-examine the reflections initiated at the time by the conceptual trend (especially with regard to notions of seriality and sequence).

By 1978, Jan Groover had radically changed subject, turning to still life. She embarked on pictures that were to form the main body of her work and thanks to which she remains to this day one of the eminent figures of the genre. Mostly created in her studio, her compositions use a variety of processes. In the 1980s, they actively contributed to the recognition of colour photography. Despite the indisputable pre-eminence of her photographs of objects, Jan Groover’s work is also studded with landscapes, bodies and portraits, often in monochrome. She developed a keen interest in the technique of platinum and palladium, which she studied in greater depth when she arrived in France, with several series in a very specific elongated format (banquet camera) concluding the exhibition.

Text from the Musée de l’Elysée website

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1985

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1985
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012) 'Untitled' c. 1989

 

Jan Groover (American, 1943-2012)
Untitled
c. 1989
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Bruce Boice (American, b. 1941) 'Jan Groover' c. 1968

 

Bruce Boice (American, b. 1941)
Jan Groover
c. 1968
© Photo Elysée – Fonds Jan Groover

 

Tatyana Franck (author). 'Jan Groover. Laboratory of Forms' book cover 2019

 

Tatyana Franck (author)
Photo Elysée & Scheidegger and Spiess (publisher)
February, 2020 (date of publication)
ISBN 978-3858818386
192 pages
48 euros

 

This book accompanies the eponymous exhibition presented at Photo Elysée from September 18, 2019 to January 5, 2020, then at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson from November 8, 2022 to February 12, 2023.

“Formalism is everything”: Jan Groover’s statement alone sums up the plastic ambition of a work that today embodies one of the key moments in the history of photography and the genre of still life.

Conducted through constant and varied experimentation, her research focused on forms and their ability to transform the perception of the image. In the early 1970s, the photographer was noticed by the New York art scene for her polyptychs based on the motifs of the car and the urban environment. Around 1978, Jan Groover radically changed the subject to still life, which would form the main part of his later work. Produced in the studio, her compositions use a variety of techniques; in the 1970s and 1980s, they actively contributed to the institutional and artistic recognition of colour photography. She then developed a great interest in a late 19th century process, the platinum-palladium.

Defending the historical and technical importance of her work, the publication thus puts Jan Groover’s work in perspective with the analysis of the archival finds given by her husband, Bruce Boice, to Photo Elysée.

Edited by Tatyana Franck

With contributions from Bruce Boice, Emilie Delcambre Hirsch, Paul Frèches, Tatyana Franck, Sarah Hermanson Meister, and Pau Maynés Tolosa

21 x 27 cm.
Texts in English

 

 

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
79 rue des Archives
75003 Paris

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday
11am – 7pm
Closed on Mondays

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson website

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28
Jan
23

Exhibition: ‘Luces y Sombras: Images of Mexico | Photographs from the Bank of America Collection’ at the Tacoma Art Museum

Exhibition dates: 15th October 2022 – 5th February 2023

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'Mr. Municipal President' (Señor presidente municipal) 1947

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
Mr. Municipal President (Señor presidente municipal)
1947 (negative); printed before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 3/8 x 9 1/8 inches (18.7 x 23.1cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

 

After last week’s long piece of writing something more succinct this week…

Luces y Sombras translates as Lights and Shadows. The exhibition reflects many themes: the landscape, urban life, fantasy and, especially among younger generations, gender and invented situations infused with symbolism. It begins with works by photographers active at the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), notably Manuel Álvarez Bravo, considered Mexico’s first truly modern photographer. It also includes visiting artists such as the Americans Paul Strand and Edward Weston.

Later works by such figures as Manuel Carrillo, Mariana Yampolsky, and Graciela Iturbide reveal the ongoing emphasis by Mexican photographers on everyday life and Mexico’s Indigenous communities. Recent generations of photographers have found new purpose in documenting how ways of life in Mexico continue to be changed by urbanisation, migration, and the pervasive influence of popular Western culture and mass media.” (Exhibition text from the TAM)

It is interesting to hear British photographer Chris Killip’s thoughts on Mexico through a foreign lens. This quote from an upcoming posting on Killip’s work:

He says he stayed [in Newcastle] because he liked it, and that he might never have left had the Harvard job not come along – but he was also inspired by the Magnum photographer Josef Koudelka, who came to visit him early on and “talked about the importance of being in one place, to get under the surface of things”. He was also interested in how differently Paul Strand and Manuel Alvarez Bravo photographed Mexico, he says, despite Strand’s sympathetic, card-carrying Communist credentials.

“Strand beautifies poverty and simplifies the Mexican people into ‘the poor Mexicans, but isn’t this wonderful visually’,” he says. “But Alvarez Bravo was Mexican, his pictures are very complicated because he was able to accept ambiguities and contradictions, which Strand couldn’t… I think because I lived in Newcastle for so long I was able to accept ambiguities and not worry about them, just accept them and show them. I wanted to be there and be more accepting.”1

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As I have said in a previous posting on Mexican photography there is something so essential and grounded, so darkly soulful about Mexican photography. They never pull their punches, not just interested in the beauty of people and place but also the rituals, traditions and politics of Mexican society.

As ever, it is the work of Mexican artist Manuel Álvarez Bravo that steals my heart. His work exudes the spirit of the country through its sensitivity and connection to the earth from which he was born. The light and form in Bravo La Siesta de los Peregrinos; the light and form in Retrato de lo Eterno (1935, below). I have studied his work quite closely. He is the blessed one. Through his music, he captures the light and life of Mexico, the spirit of the eternal, “the sunlight [as] a discreet veil that turns the shadows into velvet.” His work is the art of the People.

Further,

“One of my early heroes in photography was Manuel Alvarez Bravo whom I rate as one of the best photographers that has ever lived, up there with Atget and Sudek. His photograph Parabola optica (Optical Parable, 1931, below) lays the foundation for an inherent language of Mexican photography: that of a parable, a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. Many Mexican photographs tell such stories based on the mythology of the country: there are elements of the absurd, surrealism, macabre, revolution, political and socio-economic issues, also of death, violence, beauty, youth, sexuality and religion to name but a few – a search for national identity that is balanced in the photographs of Bravo by a sense of inner peace and redemption. This potent mix of issues and emotions is what makes Mexican photography so powerful and substantive. In the “presence” (or present, the awareness of the here and now) of Mexican photography there is a definite calligraphy of the body in space in most of the work. This handwriting is idiosyncratic and emotive; it draws the viewer into an intimate narrative embrace.

Unlike most Australian documentary photography where there is an observational distance present in the photographs – a physical space between the camera/photographer and the subject – Mexican documentary photography is imbued with a revolutionary spirit and validated by the investment of the photographer in the subject itself, as though the image is the country is the photographer. There is an essence and energy to the Mexican photographs that seems to turn narrative on its head, unlike the closed loop present in the tradition of Australian story telling. The intimate, swirling narratives of Mexican photography could almost be termed lyrical socio-realist.”2

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What is a revelation to me in this posting is work by two Mexican photographers who I have never heard of before and I should have because they are very good: Manuel Carrillo and Flor Garduño. Carillo joined the Club Fotográfico de México at the age of 49. As James McArdle observes the politics of Carrillo’s photographic work is anchored to his own cultural identity as a Mexican by birth and his time spent in America.

“He quickly found his voice by making images of everyday life throughout Mexico, celebrating local culture and the human spirit. His work is an extension of Mexicanidad, a movement begun in the 1920s to forge a Mexican national identity free of foreign influence… His interest in indigenous cultures and his use of bright sunlight to create compositions with dramatic shadows and bold geometric forms has roots in the photographic work of Edward Weston and Paul Strand, American modernist photographers active in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. Rather than idealising, aestheticising, or moralising, Carrillo portrays Mexico from the perspective of an affectionate observer, transforming ordinary moments into expressions of quiet eloquence.”3

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A certain paradox can be noted here: the wish for a Mexican identity free of foreign influence and photographs forged in the American modernist tradition. Interesting. It doesn’t stop the visceral photographs being very “Mexican” for all that.

“Garduño’s photographs create a bridge between the present and the past by portraying natural elements such as water, trees, earth, animals, and atmosphere. Garduño worked for the Department of Public Education in her native Mexico, traveling to rural areas to work with indigenous communities. From this she developed her style and got to know what she has referred to as the “profound truth” of the countryside in the Americas. Her work was also influenced by artists Kati Horna, who worked in a surrealistic vein, and Manuel Álvarez Bravo, who attended carefully to the tonal qualities of his photographs. Garduño similarly uses compositional and darkroom techniques to achieve moody, evocative images.”4

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In the work of Mexican photographers – Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Graciela Iturbide, Manuel Carrillo and Flor Garduño – you can palpably feel the essentialness of the Mexican people and begin to understand their connection to the land from which they come. Much as in the work of Chris Killip in England with his embeddedness5 with the people of North Yorkshire … there is an honesty, integrity and openness to their work which, in the case of Mexican photography, has continuous strands (like a river) running through it: that is, a synthesis of aesthetics, politics, land and spirit. Their work is of the people for the people offering a “profound truth” about the nature of their existence in the countryside in the Americas.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

Footnotes

1/ Diane Smyth. “Now Then: Chris Killip and the Making of In Flagrante, on the British Journal of Photography website 6 June 2017 [Online] Cited 26/01/2023

2/ Marcus Bunyan. “Photography in Mexico: Selected Works from the Collections of SFMOMA and Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser,” on the Art Blart website 4th July 2012 [Online] Cited 28/01/2023

3/ Anonymous. “Manuel Carrillo: Mexican Modernist,” on the New Mexico Museum of Art website Nd [Online] Cited 28/01/2023

4/ Anonymous. “Get to know the work of Flor Garduño,” on the Getty Twitter website Oct 6, 2021 [Online] Cited 28/01/2023

5/ Embeddedness: an exchange that takes place within and is regulated by society rather than being located in a social vacuum.

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Many thankx to the Tacoma Art Museum, Mark I. Chester and Steven Miller for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'In the Temple of Red Tiger' (En el templo del tigre rojo) 1949

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
In the Temple of Red Tiger (En el templo del tigre rojo)
1949 (negative); print before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image overall: 9 3/4 × 6 3/4 in. (24.8 x 17.1cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'Portrait of the Eternal' (Retrato de lo eterno) 1935

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
Portrait of the Eternal (Retrato de lo eterno)
1935 (negative); print before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 5/8 × 7 3/8in. (24.4 x 18.7cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'The Daydream' (El ensueño) 1931

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
The Daydream (El ensueño)
1931 (negative); print before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 1/4 × 7 in. (23.5 x 17.8cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'Optic Parable' (Parábola óptica) 1931

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
Optic Parable (Parábola óptica)
1931 (negative); print before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 1/4 × 7 in. (23.5 x 17.8cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'The Big Fish Eats the Little Ones' (El pez grande se come a los chicos) 1932

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
The Big Fish Eats the Little Ones (El pez grande se come a los chicos)
1932 (negative); print before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 × 7 in. (22.9 x 17.8cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

 

Graciela Iturbide on Manuel Álvarez Bravo 

Graciela Iturbide, Hasselblad Award Winner in 2008, talks about her friend and teacher Manuel Álvarez Bravo who received the Hasselblad Award in 1984.

 

Manuel Alvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'La Buena Fama Durmiendo (The Good Reputation Sleeping)' 1939, printed c. 1970s

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
The Good Reputation, Sleeping (La buena fama, durmiendo)
1938 (negative); print before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 3/8 × 9 5/8 in. (18.7 x 24.4cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'The Maria' (La María) 1972

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
The Maria (La María)
1972
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 × 9 1/4 in. (17.8 x 23.5 cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo. 'Las lavanderas sobreentendidas / The Washerwomen Implied' 1932

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
The Washerwomen Implied (Las lavanderas sobreentendidas)
1932 (negative); print before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 1/2 × 6 in. (24.1 x 15.2cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'The Obstacles' (Los obstáculos) 1929

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
The Obstacles (Los obstáculos)
1929 (negative); print before 1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 1/4 × 9 1/4 in. (18.4 x 23.5cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'Frida Kahlo with Globe' (Frida Kahlo con globo) c. 1930s

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
Frida Kahlo with Globe (Frida Kahlo con globo)
c. 1930s (negative); print before 1992
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 3/8 × 7 1/4 in. (23.8 x 18.4cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) 'The Daughter of the Dancers' (La hija de los danzantes) 1933

 

Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002)
The Daughter of the Dancers (La hija de los danzantes)
1933
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 × 6 1/2 in. (22.9 x 16.5cm)
Bank of America Collection
© Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C

 

 

More than 100 photographs spanning more than 85 years of Mexican culture and history are coming to Tacoma Art Museum in the exhibition Luces y Sombras: Images of Mexico I Photographs from the Bank of America Collection.

Luces y Sombras reflects a broad span of Mexico’s modern history, beginning with work by photographers active in the 1920s, not long after the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution. A struggle for political power that began with the overthrow in 1911 of Mexico’s authoritarian president, Porfirio Díaz, became the catalyst for a popular uprising of campesinos, agrarian indigenous and mestizo (mixed race) people who fought for agrarian and social reform. Revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata’s rallying cry, “Tierra y Libertad” (Land and Liberty), not only galvanised the hundreds of thousands of campesinos who joined the revolt but in its wake, came to represent the affirmation of rural people, whose lives were inextricably tied to the land.

Many images in this exhibition manifest the cultural values that came to the fore in the decades following the Revolution, when politicians and intellectuals alike endeavoured to reconstruct and, indeed, re-envision their nation. In the cultural sphere, Mexico’s new leadership sought to purge the nation of the European influence favoured by the Díaz regime. Nationalist ideals and a broad-based exploration of Mexicanidad (the quality of being Mexican) were accompanied by a new reverence for Mexico’s indigenous roots and for everyday men and women. Photographs made throughout the last century of indigenous and mestizo people reflect not only the survival of indigenous communities and traditions, but also the realities of poverty and social marginalisation that persist for a large lower class up to the present day.

Luces y Sombras reflects many other themes embraced by photographers in Mexico, both native and foreign-born – the landscape, urban life and, especially among younger generations, gender and invented situations infused with symbolism. The inclusion of such foreign photographers as Paul Strand, Elliott Erwitt, Aaron Siskind, Danny Lyon, and Nan Goldin speaks to another key component of the history of photography in Mexico – the significance of a nation seen through foreign eyes.

In gathering work by such a diversity of voices, Luces y Sombras provides vivid testimony to the character of life in a nation in the throes of reinvention, modernisation and continued change over the course of the last century.

Text from the TAM website

 

Ana Casas Broda (Mexican born Spain, b. 1965) 'Milk III (2)' (Leche III (2)) 2010

 

Ana Casas Broda (Mexican born Spain, b. 1965)
Milk III (2) (Leche III (2))
2010
from the series Kinderwunsch (The Desire to Have Children)(El deseo de tener hijos)
Inkjet print on cotton paper
Image Overall: 23 5/8 × 35 1/2 in. (60 x 90.2cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Mendicant girl – close up, Guanajuato, Guanajuato' (Sin título (Pordiocerita – close up, Guanajuato, Guanajuato)) 1930

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Mendicant girl – close up, Guanajuato, Guanajuato (Sin título (Pordiocerita – close up, Guanajuato, Guanajuato))
1930
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 1/2 × 9 1/4 in. (19.1 x 23.5cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Man inside store, contrasted, baskets on the wall, Zacapoaxtla, Pueblo)' (Sin título (Hombre dentro tienda, contrastada, canastas, pared, Zacapoaxtla, Pueblo)) 1975

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Man inside store, contrasted, baskets on the wall, Zacapoaxtla, Pueblo) (Sin título (Hombre dentro tienda, contrastada, canastas, pared, Zacapoaxtla, Pueblo))
1975
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 3/4 × 10 in. (19.7 x 25.4cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

 

Manuel Carrillo worked in Mexico in the middle of the 20th century, a time in Mexico that witnessed great political changes and social transformations and a moment in the country’s history when it was establishing its strong cultural identity.

Carrillo’s work, along with the well-known Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Tina Modotti and the American photographer Edward Weston, among others, was a contributing force as to how Mexico saw itself and how the rest of the world came to perceive that complex country. A bit of the understanding and empathy for the daily life of the Mexican people seen in Carrillo’s work would be of great help in how Mexico is perceived today.

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Seller of ropes and belts, Oaxaca, Oaxaca)' (Sin título (Vendedor reatas y cinturónes, Oaxaca, Oaxaca)) Nd

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Seller of ropes and belts, Oaxaca, Oaxaca) (Sin título (Vendedor reatas y cinturónes, Oaxaca, Oaxaca))
Nd
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 3/8 × 9 5/8 in. (18.7 x 24.4cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Shawl in the air, Oaxaca, Oaxaca)' (Sin título (Rebozo al aire, Oaxaca, Oaxaca)) 1958

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Shawl in the air, Oaxaca, Oaxaca) (Sin título (Rebozo al aire, Oaxaca, Oaxaca))
1958
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 1/2 × 8 5/8 in. (24.1 x 21.9cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Dog on grave, cemetery, Dolores, Mexico City)' (Sin título (Perro sobre tumba, panteon, Dolores, México D.F.) 1930

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Dog on grave, cemetery, Dolores, Mexico City) (Sin título (Perro sobre tumba, panteon, Dolores, México D.F.)
1930
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 8 × 10 3/4 in. (20.3 x 27.3cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

 

Mexican photographer Manuel Carrillo (1906-1989) turned to the camera fairly late in life, joining the Club Fotográfico de México at the age of 49. He quickly found his voice by making images of everyday life throughout Mexico, celebrating local culture and the human spirit. His work is an extension of Mexicanidad, a movement begun in the 1920s to forge a Mexican national identity free of foreign influence. Stylistically, however, Carrillo was inspired by Mexican artists trained abroad and international artists who converged on Mexico during that fertile period. His interest in indigenous cultures and his use of bright sunlight to create compositions with dramatic shadows and bold geometric forms has roots in the photographic work of Edward Weston and Paul Strand, American modernist photographers active in Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s. Rather than idealising, aestheticising, or moralising, Carrillo portrays Mexico from the perspective of an affectionate observer, transforming ordinary moments into expressions of quiet eloquence.

Anonymous. “Manuel Carrillo: Mexican Modernist,” on the New Mexico Museum of Art website Nd [Online] Cited 28/01/2023

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Sick woman on bench, San Miguel Allende)' (Sin título (Enferma en banca, San Miguel Allende)) 1970

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Sick woman on bench, San Miguel Allende) (Sin título (Enferma en banca, San Miguel Allende))
1970
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 8 × 10 3/4 in. (20.3 x 27.3cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Camila from above, two faces – close up), Mexico City' (Sin título (Camila desde arriba, dos cars – close up), México D.F.)) 1961

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Camila from above, two faces – close up), Mexico City (Sin título (Camila desde arriba, dos cars – close up), México D.F.))
1961
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 3/4 × 7 in. (19.7 x 17.8cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

 

By contrast, one might consider the mobility of framing in the work of Mexican Manuel Carrillo (b. 1906) who died on this date in 1989. The influence of American Modernist photographers and artists of his time, and of his better-known compatriot and contemporary Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002), is evident in this extreme point of view.

The aerial angle presents the tops of subjects’ heads, but with sufficient offset to allow a reading of the faces; the curiosity of the young boy and the protectiveness of the mother, both enclosed within a continuous ribbon of cloth and embraced by the square camera frame. The top-down view gives privileged entrée into that intense maternal relationship, encompassed by the geometry of the tiled background that contrasts with the cloth, set at an angle that enhances the figures’ complementary emotional impulses.

Aside from aesthetics, the politics of Carrillo’s photographic work is anchored to his own cultural identity as a Mexican by birth and as an American through his crossing into that country at the age of 16, when in 1922 he left Mexico for New York, becoming an Arthur Murray waltz and tango champion. When in 1930 he returned to Mexico City, he remained until his retirement. Taking up photography in 1955, he joined, at age 49, the Club Fotografico de Mexico and the Photographic Society of America, and within 5 years held his first international exhibition titled, Mi Pueblo (“My People”) in 1960 at the Chicago Public Library. Like influential writers, photographers, and artists, such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Carrillo identified with Mexicanidad, a nationalist and anti-colonial cultural movement that emerged in the 1920s after Mexico’s Revolution. He was inducted as an honorary citizen of EL Paso, Texas in 1980 by the Photographic Society of America.

James McArdle. “January 20: Angle,” on the On This Date in Photography website 20/01/2018 [Online] Cited 31/12/2022

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Cross, human shadow, Tepeapulco, Mexico)' (Sin título (Cruz, sombra humana, Tepeapulco, México)) 1973

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Cross, human shadow, Tepeapulco, Mexico) (Sin título (Cruz, sombra humana, Tepeapulco, México))
1973
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 × 7 in. (22.9 x 17.8cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Old lady, alley, pyramidal shadows, Guanajuato)' (Sin título (Viejita, callejón, sombras piramidales, Guanajuato)) Nd

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Old lady, alley, pyramidal shadows, Guanajuato) (Sin título (Viejita, callejón, sombras piramidales, Guanajuato))
Nd
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 × 7 in. (22.9 x 17.8cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989) 'Untitled (Toluca pulque bar (Drunken Barrels)), Toluca, Mexico)' (Sin título (Pulquería de Toluca Barriles beodos)), Toluca, México)) 1970

 

Manuel Carrillo (Mexican, 1906-1989)
Untitled (Toluca pulque bar (Drunken Barrels)), Toluca, Mexico) (Sin título (Pulquería de Toluca Barriles beodos)), Toluca, México))
1970
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 3/4 × 9 3/4 in. (19.7 x 24.8cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

 

The photographs in Luces y Sombras span the post-Revolutionary era of the 1920s up until the present day. With work by 28 photographers, both Mexican and other nationalities, this exhibition provides vivid testimony to the character of life in a nation in the throes of reinvention, modernisation and continued change, over the course of the last century. …

Luces y Sombras reflects a wide range of modern Mexican history, beginning with the works of photographers active in the 1920s, shortly after the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution. A struggle for political power that began with the 1911 overthrow of Mexico’s authoritarian President Porfirio Díaz and became a catalyst for a popular uprising of peasants, agrarian Indians, and mestizos (of mixed race) who fought for land and social reform. The rallying cry of peasant leader Emiliano Zapata, “Land and Liberty,” not only galvanised the hundreds of thousands of peasants who joined the revolt, but became the affirmation of the rural people, whose lives were inextricably linked to the earth.

Many images in this exhibition manifest the cultural values ​​that emerged in the decades after the Revolution, as politicians and intellectuals strove to rebuild, and indeed, disimagine their nation. In the cultural sphere, Mexico’s new leadership sought to purge the nation of the European influence favored by the Díaz regime. Nationalist ideals and a broad exploration of mexicanidad (the quality of being Mexican), were accompanied by a new reverence for Mexico’s indigenous roots and for ordinary men and women. The photographs taken throughout the last century of indigenous and mestizo peoples reflect not only the survival of indigenous communities and traditions, but also the reality of poverty and social marginalisation that persist for a large lower class to this day.

Luces y Sombras translates as Lights and Shadows. The exhibition reflects many themes: the landscape, urban life, fantasy and, especially among younger generations, gender and invented situations infused with symbolism. It begins with works by photographers active at the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), notably Manuel Álvarez Bravo, considered Mexico’s first truly modern photographer. It also includes visiting artists such as the Americans Paul Strand and Edward Weston.

Later works by such figures as Manuel Carrillo, Mariana Yampolsky, and Graciela Iturbide reveal the ongoing emphasis by Mexican photographers on everyday life and Mexico’s Indigenous communities. Recent generations of photographers have found new purpose in documenting how ways of life in Mexico continue to be changed by urbanisation, migration, and the pervasive influence of popular Western culture and mass media. Alongside these images, photographs by artists such as Alejandra Laviada, Karina Juárez, and Humberto Ríos explore contemporary issues or convey the artist’s personal reactions to the world around them.

This exhibition and gallery texts have been provided by the Bank of America Art in our Communities® program.

 

Luces y Sombras refleja una amplia gama de la historia moderna de México, comenzado con las obras de fotógrafos activos en la década de 1920, poco después de la conclusión de la Revolución Mexicana. Una lucha por el poder político que comenzó con el derrocamiento en 1911 del presidente autoritario de México, Porfirio Díaz, y que se convirtió en catalizador de un levantamiento popular de campesinos, indígenas agrarios y mestizos (de raza mixta) que lucharon por la reforma agraria y social. El grito de guerra del líder campesino Emiliano Zapata, “Tierra y Libertad“, no solo galvanizó a los cientos de miles de campesinos que se unieron a la revuelta, sino que se convirtió en la afirmación de la gente rural, cuyas vidas estaban inextricablemente vinculadas a la tierra.

Muchas imágenes en esta exposición manifiestan los valores culturales que surgieron en las décadas posteriores a la Revolución, cuando políticos e intelectuales se esforzaron por reconstruir, y de hecho, desimaginar su nación. En la esfera cultural, el nuevo liderazgo de México busco purgar la nación de la influencia europea favorecida por el régimen de Díaz. Los ideales nacionalistas y una amplia exploración de la mexicanidad (la cualidad de ser mexicano), fueron acompañados por una nueva reverencia por las raíces indígenas de México y por los hombres y mujeres comunes. Las fotografías realizadas a lo largo del último siglo de los pueblos indígenas y mestizos refleja no solo la supervivencia de las comunidades y tradiciones indígenas, sino también la realidad de la pobreza y marginación social que persisten para una gran clase baja hasta el presente día.

Luces y Sombras refleja muchos otros temas abarcados por los fotógrafos en México, tanto nativos como extranjeros: el paisaje, la vida urbana y, especialmente entre las generaciones mas jóvenes, el género y situaciones inventadas infundidas de simbolismo. La inclusión de fotógrafos extranjeros como Paul Strand, Elliot Erwitt, Aaron Siskind, Danny Lyon y Nan Goldin habla de otro componente clave de la historia de la fotografía en México: el significado de una nación vista a travéz de ojos extranjeros.

Al recopilar las obras de una diversidad de voces, Luces y Sombras brinda un testimonio vívido del carácter de la vida en una nación en pleno proceso de invención, modernización y cambio continuo a lo largo del siglo pasado.

Esta exhibición y los textos de esta galería fueron brindados por el programa Bank of America Art in our Communities®.

 

Mexico Through a Foreign Lens

Mexico became a magnet for American artists and photographers in the post-Revolutionary era, an idealistic period when artists, musicians, writers and other intellectuals sought to forge a cohesive nationalist identity through the arts. This cultural renaissance, led by such celebrated figures as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, if not for the country’s sheer exoticism to foreigners, endowed Mexico with an allure similar to that of Paris for earlier generations of artists.

Mexico held great appeal for figures such as Edward Weston and his partner, the Italian Tina Modotti, who arrived in Mexico City in 1923 in search of bohemian freedom and new creative possibilities. During his few years in Mexico, Weston transformed his artistic vision, articulating a modernist aesthetic that veered away from the picturesque, soft-focus style of photography prevalent at the turn of the century, in favour of an approach that emphasised sharp resolution and form. the details, or as he once wrote, “the quintessence of the thing itself.” Both photographers had a lasting impact in Mexico – Weston by promoting an aesthetic that decisively influenced the course of modern photography, and Modotti, as a pioneering photographer and model of the socially and politically engaged artist.

Another key early figure in Mexico is Paul Strand, who took a deeply humanistic approach in photographing indigenous people and their environments while traveling around the country in the 1930s. This exhibition also contains work by American photographers active in the 1950s and 1960s. Mexico remained a destination for artists and free spirits in these years, including members of the Beat Generation, counter-culture writers and musicians active at mid-century who found in Mexico ample opportunity for both creative inspiration and debauchery. Such photographers who are now considered leading figures of this era, including Elliott Erwitt, Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan and Danny Lyon, spent extended time in Mexico and created significant bodies of work.

 

México a travéz de una lente extranjera

México se convirtió en un imán para los artistas y fotógrafos americanos en la era posrevolucionaria, un período idealista en el que artistas, músicos, escritores y otros intelectuales buscaron forjar una identidad nacionalista cohesiva a través de las artes. Este renacimiento cultural, liderado por figuras tan célebres como Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo – sino fuera por el exotismo del país para los extranjeros – dotó a México un atractivo similar al de París para los artistas de generaciones anteriores.

México tuvo un gran atractivo para figuras como Edward Weston y su compañera, la italiana Tina Modotti, que llegaron a la Ciudad de México en 1923 en busca de libertad bohemia y nuevas posibilidades creativas. Durante sus pocos años en México, Weston transformó su visión artística, articulando una estética modernista que se apartó del estilo pintoresco de enfoque suave de la fotografía que prevalecía a principios del siglo, en favor de un enfoque que enfatizaba la forma y la resolución nítida de los detalles, o como escribió una vez, “la quintaesencia de la cosa misma.” Ambos fotógrafos tuvieron un impacto duradero en México – Weston al promover una estética que influyó decisivamente en el curso de la fotografía moderna, y Modotti, como una fotógrafa pionera y modelo del artista social y políticamente comprometido.

Otra figura clave en México es Paul Strand, quien adoptó un enfoque profundamente humanista al fotografiar a los indígenas y sus entornos mientras viajaba por el país en la década de 1930. Esta exposición también contiene las obras de fotógrafos americanos activos en las décadas de 1950 y 1960. México siguió siendo un destino para artistas y espíritus libres en estos años, incluidos los miembros de Beat Generation, escritores de contracultura y músicos activos a mediados de siglo que encontraron en México una gran oportunidad tanto de inspiración creativa. Tales fotógrafos que ahora se consideran figuras destacadas de esta era como Elliott Erwitt, Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan y Danny Lyon, pasaron mucho tiempo en México y crearon importantes obras.

 

Contemporary Voices

Photography made in Mexico over the last twenty years or so encompasses distinct tendencies. There exists, on the one hand, the continued vitality of an aesthetic that can be traced as far back as the 1920s, favouring sharp-focus black-and-white photography and a preoccupation with recording everyday life. But especially since the 1980s, photographers have approached the medium with a sense of freedom, embracing forms of image that radically depart from long-established modes. This kind of experimentation with the medium, although a lesser recognised aspect of photography in Mexico, is not new. As early as the 1920s, smaller numbers of photographers created images with unconventional approaches, whether through darkroom manipulation, photomontage or constructing scenes for the camera. Younger generations have extended this spirit of experimentation, deploying the medium in conceptual projects and elaborately staging images to craft pointed statements about race, gender and political issues. As a result, the current photography scene in Mexico is remarkably diverse. Its practitioners respect the medium’s remarkable history in their country while illuminating timely subject matter and devising new modes of working with the camera and with digital means.

This exhibition contains the work of younger photographers whose work examines the complex construction of identity in the millennial era, whether with Ana Casas Broda’s idiosyncratic explorations of childhood, or portrayals of gender by Luis Arturo Aguirre, Nelson Morales and Roberto Tondopó. Photographs by Alejandra Laviada and Humberto Ríos reflect another mode in contemporary photography: to stage scenes, whether with individuals or with objects, for the camera – often a means of evoking dreams, the subconscious and psychological states.

 

Voces contemporáneas

La fotografía realizada en México durante los últimos veinte años abarca distintas tendencias. Por un lado, existe le vitalidad continúa de una estética que se remonta a la década de 1920, favoreciendo la fotografía en blanco y negro con enfoque nítido y la preocupación por la grabación de la vida cotidiana. Pero especialmente desde la década de 1980, los fotógrafos se ha acercado al medio con un sentido de libertad, abrazando formas de imagen que se alejan radicalmente de los modos establecidos desde hace mucho tiempo. Este tipo de experimentación con el medio, aunque es un aspecto menos reconocido de la fotografía en México, no es nuevo. Ya en la década de 1920, un número menor de fotógrafos crearon imágenes con enfoques no convencionales, ya sea a través de la manipulación en el cuarto oscuro, el fotomontaje o la construcción de escenas para la cámara. Las generaciones más jóvenes han ampliado este espíritu de experimentación, desplegando el medio en proyectos conceptuales y elaborando imágenes para hacer declaraciones puntuales sobre cuestiones de raza, género y problemas políticos. Como resultado, la escena fotográfica actual en México es notablemente diversa. Sus profesionales respetan la extraordinaria historia del medio en su país al tiempo que ilustran temas oportunos y diseñan nuevos modos de trabajar con la cámara y con medios digitales.

Esta exposición contiene las obras de fotógrafos mas jóvenes, que examina la compleja construcción de la identidad en la era del milenio, ya sea con las idiosincrásicas exploraciones de la infancia de Ana Casas Broda, o representaciones del género de Luis Arturo Aguirre, Nelson Morales y Roberto Tondopó. Las fotografías de Alejandra Laviada y Humberto Ríos reflejan otro modo en la fotografía contemporánea: crear escenas, ya sea con individuos o con objetos, para la cámara, a menudo un medio de evocar sueños, estados subconscientes y psicológicos.

Before the Conquest, all art was of the people, and popular art has never ceased to exist in Mexico. The art called popular is fugitive in character, with less of the impersonal and intellectual characteristics of the schools. It is the work of talent nourished by personal experience and that of the community – rather than being taken from the experiences of painters in other times and other cultures. ~ Manuel Álvarez Bravo

.
The perspective of Mexicanidad, the quality of being Mexican, sought to remove colonial influences from Mexican art. After the Mexican Revolution of 1910–1920, artists and intellectuals came together to forge a new Mexican culture, one that placed new value on Mexico’s indigenous, working-class and agrarian roots as a repudiation of dictator Porfirio Díaz’s focus on wealthy, powerful and often white individuals. Known as the Mexican Cultural Renaissance, this movement gave rise to art that defined a new sense of Mexican identity. Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Latin America’s best-known photographer, made visually sophisticated photographs with a formally complex approach often including symbolic elements. He didn’t identify as such, but many viewers have seen surrealist aspects in his work. His work often looks at Mexico’s traditional cultures as they experience significant and rapid change.

Artists active in the decades after the Mexican Revolution, examined what it meant to be Mexican, without the colonial, European focus of the dictatorship. Manuel Carrillo documented street scenes, workers and children with empathy and care, seeking to record a cultural identity with attention to form and composition. Graciela Iturbide makes documentary photographs that are rich with metaphor and grace, finding spirituality and beauty in traditions and everyday life.

Antes de la Conquista, todo el arte era popular. El arte nunca ha dejado de existir en México. El arte llamado popular es de carácter fugitivo, con menos de las características impersonales e intelectuales de las escuelas. Son obras de talento alimentado por la experiencia personal y la de la comunidad – en lugar de ser tomado de las experiencias de los pintores en otros tiempos y otras culturas. ~ Manuel Álvarez Bravo

.
La perspectiva de la mexicanidad, la cualidad de ser mexicano, buscaba eliminar las influencias coloniales del arte mexicano. Después de la revolución mexicana de 1910-1920, los artistas e intelectuales se unieron creando una nueva cultura mexicana dieron un nuevo valor a las raíces indígenas, de la clase trabajadora y agrarias de México como un repudio al enfoque del dictador Porfirio Díaz en los individuos ricos, poderosos y a menudo blancos. Este movimiento, conocido como el Renacimiento Cultural Mexicano, dio lugar a un arte que le atribuyó un nuevo sentido a la identidad mexicana. Manuel Álvarez Bravo, el fotógrafo mas conocido de América Latina, hizo fotografías visualmente sofisticadas con un enfoque formalmente complejo que a menudo incluye elementos simbólicos. No se identificó como tal, pero muchos espectadores han visto elementos surrealistas en sus obras. Estas a menudo analizan las culturas tradicionales de México a medida que experimentan un cambio significativo y rápido.

Artistas activos en las décadas posteriores a la Revolución Mexicana, examinaron lo que significaba ser mexicano, sin el enfoque colonial y europeo de la dictadura. Manuel Carrillo documentó escenas callejeras, trabajadores y niños con empatía y cuidado, buscando registrar una identidad cultural con atención a la forma y composición. Graciela Iturbide hace fotografías documentales que son ricas en metáfora y gracia, encontrando espiritualidad y belleza en las tradiciones y en la vida cotidiana.

Exhibition text from the TAM

 

Elliott Erwitt (American born France, b. 1928) 'Guanajuato, Mexico' 1957

 

Elliott Erwitt (American born France, b. 1928)
Guanajuato, Mexico
1957
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 8 1/2 × 13 1/2 in. (21.6 x 34.3cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Flor Garduño (Mexican, b.1957) 'Cloud, Mexico' (Nube, México) 1982

 

Flor Garduño (Mexican, b.1957)
Cloud, Mexico (Nube, México)
1982
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 13 × 17 in. (33 x 43.2cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Flor Garduño (Mexican, b. 1957) 'Tree of Life, Mexico' (Arbol de la vida, México) 1982

 

Flor Garduño (Mexican, b. 1957)
Tree of Life, Mexico (Arbol de la vida, México)
1982
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 13 × 17 in. (33 x 43.2cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

 

Garduño’s photographs create a bridge between the present and the past by portraying natural elements such as water, trees, earth, animals, and atmosphere. Garduño worked for the Department of Public Education in her native Mexico, traveling to rural areas to work with indigenous communities. From this she developed her style and got to know what she has referred to as the “profound truth” of the countryside in the Americas. Her work was also influenced by artists Kati Horna, who worked in a surrealistic vein, and Manuel Álvarez Bravo, who attended carefully to the tonal qualities of his photographs. Garduño similarly uses compositional and darkroom techniques to achieve moody, evocative images.

Anonymous. “Get to know the work of Flor Garduño,” on the Getty Twitter website Oct 6, 2021 [Online] Cited 28/01/2023

 

Flor Garduño (Mexican, b. 1957) 'Zinacantec Wedding, Mexico' (Matrimonio Zinacanteco, México) 1987

 

Flor Garduño (Mexican, b. 1957)
Zinacantec Wedding, Mexico (Matrimonio Zinacanteco, México)
1987
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 17 5/8 × 13 1/2 in. (44.8 x 34.3cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

 

 

Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico

The photographs of Graciela Iturbide not only bear witness to Mexican society but express an intense personal and poetic lyricism about her native country. One of the most influential photographers active in Latin America today, Iturbide captures everyday life and its cultures, rituals, and religions, while also raising questions about paradoxes and social injustice in Mexican society. Her photographs tell a visual story of Mexico since the late 1970s – a country in constant transition, defined by the coexistence of the historical and modern as a result of the culture’s rich amalgamation of cultures. For Iturbide, photography is a way of life and a way of seeing and understanding Mexico and its beauty, challenges, and contradictions.

In the summer of 2018, Kristen Gresh, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs, and members of the exhibition team visited Graciela Iturbide at her home and studio in Mexico City. In this documentary, produced by the MFA, the artist discusses the different series and themes explored in this exhibition, as well as her creative process.

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942) 'Cemetery, Juchitán, Oaxaca' (Cementerio, Juchitán, Oaxaca) 1992

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942)
Cemetery, Juchitán, Oaxaca (Cementerio, Juchitán, Oaxaca)
1992
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 12 1/4 × 8 3/4 in. (31.1 x 22.2cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942) 'Los Pollos, Juchitán, México' (Chickens, Juchitán, Mexico) 1979

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942)
The Chickens, Juchitán, México (Los pollos, Juchitán, México)
1979 (negative); print c. 1992
Image Overall: 11 3/4 × 7 3/4 in. (29.8 x 19.7cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942) 'Sponge Vendor, Oaxaca' (Vendedora de zacate, Oaxaca) 1974

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942)
Sponge Vendor, Oaxaca (Vendedora de zacate, Oaxaca)
1974 (negative); print 1992
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 18 1/8 × 12 1/2 in. (46 x 31.8cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942) 'The Sacrifice, La Mixteca, Oaxaca' (El sacrificio, la Mixteca, Oaxaca) 1992

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942)
The Sacrifice, La Mixteca, Oaxaca (El sacrificio, la Mixteca, Oaxaca)
1992
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 16 7/8 × 12 1/4 in. (42.9 x 31.1cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942) 'Angel Woman, Sonora Desert, Mexico' (Mujer ángel, desierto de Sonora, México) 1979

 

Graciela Iturbide (Mexican, b. 1942)
Angel Woman, Sonora Desert, Mexico (Mujer ángel, desierto de Sonora, México)
1979 (negative); printed later
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 1/2 × 13 in. (24.1 x 33cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Kenro Izu (Japanese, b. 1949) 'Tajín #13' 1987

 

Kenro Izu (Japanese, b. 1949)
Tajín #13
1987 (negative and print)
From the series Sacred Places
Platinum palladium print
Image Overall: 7 3/4 × 9 3/4 in. (19.7 x 24.8cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Alejandra Laviada (Mexican, b. 1980) 'Stacking' (Apilado) 2007

 

Alejandra Laviada (Mexican, b. 1980)
Stacking (Apilado)
2007
From the series Juarez 56
Pigment print on lustre paper
24 x 20 inches (60.9 x 50.8cm)
Bank of America Collection
© 2022 Alejandra Laviada

 

Danny Lyon (American, b. 1942) 'Truck in Nueva Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico' (Camión en nuevas casas grandes, Chihuahua, México) 1975

 

Danny Lyon (American, b. 1942)
Truck in Nueva Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico (Camión en nuevas casas grandes, Chihuahua, México)
1975 (negative and print)
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 8 × 12 in. (20.3 x 30.5cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Church, Cuapiaxtla, Mexico' (Iglesia, Cuapiaxtla, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Church, Cuapiaxtla, Mexico (Iglesia, Cuapiaxtla, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
from The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 6 1/4 × 4 7/8 in. (15.9 x 12.4cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Woman, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico' (Mujer, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Woman, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico (Mujer, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
from The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 6 3/8 × 5 in. ( 16.2 x 12.7cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Women of Santa Ana, Michoacán, Mexico' (Mujeres de Santa Ana, Michoacán, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Women of Santa Ana, Michoacán, Mexico (Mujeres de Santa Ana, Michoacán, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 5 5/8 × 6 1/8 in. (14.3 x 15.6cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Woman and Baby, Hidalgo, Mexico' (Mujer y bebe, Hidalgo, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Woman and Baby, Hidalgo, Mexico (Mujer y bebe, Hidalgo, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
from The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 5 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. (14 x 16.5cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Near Saltillo, Mexico' (Cerca de Saltillo, Mexico) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Near Saltillo, Mexico (Cerca de Saltillo, Mexico)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 5 3/8 × 6 3/4 in. (13.7 x 17.1cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Young Woman and Boy, Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico' (Mujer joven y niño, Toluca de Lerdo, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Young Woman and Boy, Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico (Mujer joven y niño, Toluca de Lerdo, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
from The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 5 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. (14 x 16.5 cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Men of Santa Ana, Lake Pátzcuaro, Michoacán' (Hombres de Santa Ana, Lake Pátzcuaro, Michoacá) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Men of Santa Ana, Lake Pátzcuaro, Michoacán (Hombres de Santa Ana, Lake Pátzcuaro, Michoacá)
1933 (negative); print 1967
from The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 6 7/8 × 5 1/4 in. (17.5 x 13.3cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'White Plaza, Puebla, Mexico' (Plaza blanca, Puebla, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
White Plaza, Puebla, Mexico (Plaza blanca, Puebla, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
from The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 5 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. (14 x 16.5cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Boy, Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico' (Niño, Uruapan, Michoacán, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Boy, Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico (Niño, Uruapan, Michoacán, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 10 × 7 7/8 in. (25.4 x 20cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand. 'Man - Tenancingo' 1933 

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Man, Tenancingo de Degollado, Mexico (Hombre, Tenancingo de Degollado, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 6 3/8 × 5 in. (16.2 x 12.7cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Boy, Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico (Niño, Uruapan, Michoacán, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 6 1/2 × 5 1/4 in. (16.5 x 13.3cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Virgin San Felipe, Oaxaca, Mexico' (Virgen San Felipe, Oaxaca, Mexico) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Virgin San Felipe, Oaxaca, Mexico (Virgen San Felipe, Oaxaca, Mexico)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 10 1/4 × 7 7/8 in. (26 x 20cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Cristo, Oaxaca, Mexico' (Cristo, Oaxaca, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Cristo, Oaxaca, Mexico (Cristo, Oaxaca, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 11 × 8 1/2 in. (27.9 x 21.6cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976) 'Church Gateway, Hidalgo, Mexico' (Puerta de iglesia, Hidalgo, México) 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Church Gateway, Hidalgo, Mexico (Puerta de iglesia, Hidalgo, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 10 1/2 × 8 1/4 in. (26.7 x 21cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Paul Strand. 'Cristo with Thorns - Huexotla' 1933

 

Paul Strand (American, 1890-1976)
Cristo with Thorns, Huexotla, Mexico (Cristo con espinas, Huexotla, México)
1933 (negative); print 1967
From The Mexican Portfolio
Photogravure
Image Overall: 10 1/8 × 7 7/8 in. (25.7 x 20cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Andrés Juárez Troncoso (Mexicano, b. 1972) 'The Virgin of the Heights' (La virge n de las alturas) 2016

 

Andrés Juárez Troncoso (Mexicano, b. 1972)
The Virgin of the Heights (La virge n de las alturas)
2016
From the series The Spotless Others
Digital print
Image Overall: 20 1/8 × 29 1/2 in. (51.1 x 74.9cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958) 'Pyramid of the Sun, Mexico' (Pirámide del Sol, México) 1923

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Pyramid of the Sun, Mexico (Pirámide del Sol, México)
1923
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 7 1/2 × 9 3/8 in. (19.1 x 23.8cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Mariana Yampolsky (Mexican, b. 1925) 'Stable' (Caballeriza) 1982

 

Mariana Yampolsky (Mexican, b. 1925)
Stable (Caballeriza)
1982 (negative); print c. 1992
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 13 × 17 3/4 in. (33 x 45.1cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Mariana Yampolsky (Mexican, b. 1925) 'Caress, San Simón de la Laguna' (Caricia, San Simón de la Laguna) 1989

 

Mariana Yampolsky (Mexican, b. 1925)
Caress, San Simón de la Laguna (Caricia, San Simón de la Laguna)
1989
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 9 × 12 1/4 in. (22.9 x 31.1cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

Mariana Yampolsky (Mexican, b. 1925) 'Head Cover, Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca' (Huipil de tapar, Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca) 1989

 

Mariana Yampolsky (Mexican, b. 1925)
Head Cover, Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca (Huipil de tapar, Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca)
1989
Gelatin silver print
Image Overall: 13 1/2 × 13/12 in. (34.3 x 34.3cm)
Bank of America Collection

 

 

Tacoma Art Museum
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Tacoma, WA 98402

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20
Jan
23

Text: ‘Golden splendour: privilege, ceremony and racism in 1920s-1930s Australia’ on the photo album ‘John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell (1892-1960), 1922-1933’ Part 2

January 2023

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers should be aware that this posting contains images and names of people who may have since passed away.

 

 

W Lister Lister (27 Dec 1859 - 06 Nov 1943) 'The golden splendour of the bush' c. 1906

 

W Lister Lister (27 Dec 1859 – 06 Nov 1943)
The golden splendour of the bush
c. 1906
Oil on canvas
Frame: 294 x 245.0 x 13.5cm
Art Gallery of New South Wales

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

 

Abstract

Discovered in an op shop (charity shop in America), this is the most historically important and exciting Australian photo album that I have ever found.

Belonging to John “Jack” Riverston Faviell, a senior New South Wales public accountant and featuring his photographs, the album ranges across the spectrum of Australian life and culture from the East to the West of the continent in the years 1922-1933. A list of locations and topics can be seen below. I have added additional research text, posters and photographs to help illuminate some of the issues under consideration.

Given its importance in documenting through photographs regional NSW, Indigenous Australians and the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the album is now in the State Library of New South Wales collection.

 

Keywords

Australian culture, Australian identity, Australian colonialism, Indigenous Australians, photography, photo album, Australian photography, Australian vernacular photography, racism, Australian racism, racism in Australia, White Australia, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Trans-Australian Railway, State Library of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia, rural New South Wales, country races, Kalgoorlie Boulder, pearling, gold mining, Year of Mourning, Invasion Day, National Day of mourning, First Nations of Australia, reconciliation, pastoralism

 

 

Golden splendour: privilege, ceremony and racism in 1920s-1930s Australia

This text investigates the photographs found in an important Australian album discovered in an op shop (charity shop in America) belonging to John “Jack” Riverston Faviell (see part one of the posting), a senior New South Wales public accountant who associated with important pastoralists and bankers of the time, invested in business, travelled across the continent, went to many functions, married Sydney socialite Melanie Audrey Pickburn in February 1925 (divorced October 1930) and built a house on prestigious Darling Point overlooking Sydney Harbour.

The album features Faviell’s photographs and was probably compiled by him, the photographs ranging across the spectrum of Australian life and culture from the East to the West of the continent in the years 1922-1933. A list of locations and topics can be seen below. The album has been assembled in near chronological order although some later dates precede earlier ones (for example, “Frensham Pastoral Play” of 8th December 1923 precedes “La Perouse” 7 November 1923; “Trip to Canberra” 5/6 Nov 1927 precedes “Jenolan Caves Trip” 10/12th July, 1927; and some images from 1927 sit side by side with photographs from October and November 1932). There are no dates for Faviell’s trip to Western Australia (presumably in early 1924) and the dating starts again with a polo competition for “The Dudley Cup” in 1924 after this trip.

Taken in Scotland and sent by a man named Robert Reid from that country there is only one overseas photograph in the album. The photograph, which was presumably taken on Faviell’s honeymoon, is titled “Ellen’s Isle, Loch Katrine, Scotland (Audrey & me in boat) 1925”, and is inserted unceremoniously into photographs dating from 1927. There is no other reference to his marriage or photographs of it or his honeymoon in the album. The handwriting and grid-like layout of the photographs are consistent from front to back, and the photographs are mostly of the same size and shape (meaning he used the same camera throughout the period), other than photographs that Faviell did not take (including the “honeymoon” photograph from Scotland and the photographs of Jenolan Caves taken by Lady Dorothy Hope-Morley).

Thinking of the order that the photographs have been inserted into the album means to my mind that it was consciously assembled by Faviell probably after the date of the last photograph in the album which is November 1933 – although it is possible that he assembled it as he went along, inserting the “honeymoon” photograph from 1925 into the 1927 pages, and some earlier 1927 photographs next to the ones from 1932. But it just doesn’t feel like the latter to me… everything is too ordered to be done as he went along.

One important element of the album are John Faviell’s photographs which document his life in rural New South Wales as he attends various country race meetings, schools, historic houses, pastoral farms, regatta, and business ventures in the state during the 1920s. A second important element is the documentation of “Aboriginal Types” along the Trans-Australian Railway, gold mining in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and pearling and Aboriginals in Shark Bay, the latter two in Western Australia. Finally, important unpublished photographs of the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 give insight into the pageantry and colonialism of white Australia.

 

Privilege

A feeling of privilege – defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group – pervades the photographs in the album. Faviell belonged to a particular social category which had an inherently privileged and advantageous position.

This is evidenced by his friendship with wealthy New South Wales graziers such as O.E. Friend (d. 1942) who was President of the Royal Historical Society and Director of the Commercial Banking Co., and who had a keen interest in pastoral pursuits and business investments; by photographs of large houses and pastoral stations such as “Weroona”, Belmont (demolished 1979), “Doona”, Breeza and “Foxlow”, Bungendore near Canberra which consisted of 7,500 hectares of land; by photographs of country horse races, friends who owned race horses and polo matches; by photographs of new cars; by photographs of his own investment projects such as the Doona Cyprus Pine Venture; by photographs of his travel to Western Australia and five-day cruise on the Cutter “Shark”; by photographs of “Old Boys” from Camden Grammar School, a term redolent of the English public school system; by building a house on one of the most exclusive promontories overlooking Sydney Harbour; by getting married in one of the “biggest social events of the month in Sydney”; and so it goes… the (British) class system alive and well in 1920s Australia, still an extension of the Empire.

What we should remember is that, after the end of the First World War the “1920s saw a higher level of material prosperity for non-Indigenous people than ever before.” Despite the rising affluence of the 1920s the Australian unemployment rate floated between 6% and 11% throughout the decade. Then, in October 1929, the world experienced a stock market crash on Wall Street in New York that plunged the world into the Great Depression (1929-1934). By 1932, one third of all Australians were out of work.

“Australia suffered badly during the period of the Great Depression of the 1930s… As in other nations, Australia suffered years of high unemployment, poverty, low profits, deflation, plunging incomes, and lost opportunities for economic growth and personal advancement. Unemployment reached a record high of around 30% in 1932, and gross domestic product declined by 10% between 1929 and 1931… Many hundreds of thousands of Australians suddenly faced the humiliation of poverty and unemployment. This was still the era of traditional social family structure, where the man was expected to be the sole bread winner. Soup kitchens and charity groups made brave attempts to feed the many starving and destitute. The male suicide rate spiked in 1930 and it became clear that Australia had limits to the resources for dealing with the crisis. The depression’s sudden and widespread unemployment hit the soldiers who had just returned from war the hardest as they were in their mid-thirties and still suffering the trauma of their wartime experiences. At night many slept covered in newspapers at Sydney’s Domain or at Salvation Army refugees.”1

.
Due to his wealth, his privileged family life and position in society, Faviell obviously felt none of the effects of the Great Depression. Although there are no photographs in the album taken between 1928 and 1931, by November 1932 he was buying a new Chrysler 70 motorcar. You can’t do that without money.

 

Ceremony

Faviell attended the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the 20th March 1932 sitting in the official stands, taking what are up until now previously unknown photographs of the Federal and State Governors arriving and the pageantry of the official opening (see photographs below). The ceremony featured a passing parade of groups, floats and attractions including Naval Guard, Mounted Police, Cobb & Co. Coach, Old King Street Bus, an early Hupmobile car, the first Auto-Gyro, Wool Float, surf girls, Pioneers Float and Aborigines. Also present in the parade at the Bridge’s opening ceremony was a contingent from the Aboriginal community of La Perouse on Sydney’s Botany Bay. According to the series Australia in Colour, “The first Australians are a token inclusion in the celebrations. They are not classed as citizens in their own country and have no voting or legal rights…”2 State and federal governments still saw Indigenous Australians as, “the native problem.” “For most city people, the only contact with Indigenous groups was watching tent boxing at the travelling shows which used to flourish in the ’30s.”3 But things were beginning to change. Indigenous Australians were slowly being politicised in order to get their message across, with pleas for better rights, conditions and representation.

Five years later, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of European settlement in Australia in 1938 there was a re-enactment of Governor Phillip’s landing in which Aborigines (specially brought in for the occasion) are shown running up the beach as the boats of the First Fleet marines land at Farm Cove (see photograph below). A group of white dignitaries sits in comfortable safety watching the invasion. Elsewhere on that day in 1938 – Wednesday, 26th January – there took place the first Day of Mourning and Protest at the Australian Hall, Sydney. The protest, calling for full citizen status and equality, was led by William Cooper, Pearl Gibbs, Jack Patten and William Ferguson (see photographs and poster below). Cooper and his fellow Aboriginal men Jack Patten and William Ferguson organised a conference to grieve the collective loss of freedom and self-determination of Aboriginal communities as well as those killed during and after European settlement in 1788. “The first Day of Mourning was a culmination of years of work by the Australian Aborigines League (AAL) and the Aborigines Progressive Association (APA). It would became the inspiration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism throughout the remainder of the twentieth century.”4

“In 1938, William Cooper had thrown down a challenge. It was 150 years since the landing of the ragtag British ‘first fleet’ in Sydney Cove on 26 January in 1788. As white Australians were preparing to celebrate, Cooper had branded that landing as the beginning of 150 years of invasion, dispossession and exploitation. Cooper dared white Australia to recognise that their ‘Australia Day’ was no celebration but instead a ‘Day of Mourning’ for invaded Australia. …

A forced reenactment. For the 150th Anniversary, Aboriginal people were forced to participate in a reenactment of the landing of the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip. Aboriginal people living in Sydney had refused to take part so organisers brought in men from Menindee, in western NSW, and kept them locked up at the Redfern Police Barracks stables until the re-enactment took place. On the day itself, they were made to run up the beach away from the British – an inaccurate version of events. It was Cook who was first “threatened and warned off by the Indigenous people on the shore” and he then decided to fire gun shots.”5

.
Anita Heiss observes of that day in 1938, “The day also saw an appalling contrast. Aboriginal organisations in Sydney refused to participate in the government’s re-enactment of the events of January 1788. In response, the government transported groups of Aboriginal people from western communities in NSW to Sydney to partake in the re-enactments. The visitors were locked up at the Redfern Police Barracks stables and members of the Aborigines Progressive Association were denied access to them. After the re-enactment of the First Fleet landing at Farm Cove (Wuganmagulya), the visiting group of Aboriginal people were featured on a float parading along Macquarie Street.”6

Finally, by 1988, the re-enactments were discontinued. 50 years later to the day, on the occasion of the Australian Bicentenary in 1988 (the same year named a Year of Mourning by and for the Australian Aboriginal people), the protests against British invasion were even more prominent and vigorous, as Aboriginal people and their supporters rallied in Sydney and around the country. “On 26 January that year, up to 40,000 Aboriginal people (including some from as far away as Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory) and their supporters marched from Redfern Park to a public rally at Hyde Park and then on to Sydney Harbour to mark the 200th anniversary of invasion.”7

“On 26 January 1988, more than 40,000 people, including Aborigines from across the country and non-Indigenous supporters, staged what was the largest march in Sydney since the Vietnam moratorium. …

The march was seen as a challenge to the dominant society’s hegemonic construction of Australia day and what it represented. It was a statement of survival, demonstrating that although Australian history had excluded the indigenous voice, Aborigines as the original inhabitants of this place were not going to continue to be beggars in their own country. The march served to draw both national and international attention to Australia’s appalling human rights record. It aimed to educate the public about the poor conditions of Aboriginal health, education and welfare, of the high imprisonment rates and the number of deaths in custody suffered by Indigenous Australians. Activists such as Gary Foley called on Australians to join the Aboriginal protests and to make the point to the rest of Australia that the whole concept of the Bicentennial is based on hypocrisy and lies. …

There had been little emphasis on the need to address indigenous aspirations as a precondition to celebrating the bicentenary. The protest march was both an affirmation of indigenous Australians’ survival and a stark reminder of the falsity on which the celebration was premised. Celebrations focused on the discovery of Australia with a re-enactment of the arrival of the first fleet. However, the Aboriginal protest was a reminder that Australia had been inhabited at least 40,000 years before European arrival.”8

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As the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on January 19, 1988 noted, “scarcely a day of the Bicentenary has passed when issues involving Aborigines and their “Year of Mourning” protests have not featured prominently…” which “instigated public debate concerning white and indigenous Australian history, the position of Aborigines in contemporary society and the possibilities of land rights and reconciliation in the future.”9 But despite these protests many Australians, myself included – newly arrived from England and still homesick for the mother country, failing to grasp the enormity of the betrayal – did not understand the protests. “Despite Indigenous people declaring January 26 a National Day of mourning fifty years prior in 1938, many of the non-Indigenous majority still failed to see any disrespect in celebrating an occasion made possible by the murder, massacre, dispossession, slavery and attempted genocide of the Indigenous people of this land.”10

While I could never understand, as an English man, Australia’s treatment of their First Peoples when I first arrived, at the time I had not educated myself or immersed myself in the history of Australia to gain its full import. Now I have. And so have other people.

Importantly, national events happened in the 1990s that led up to the Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge on 28 May, 2000 (see photograph below) in which about 250,000 people walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to show their support for reconciliation between Australia’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples: in 1991 the Australian Parliament passed an Act which created the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation; in the 1992 Mabo decision the High Court of Australia ruled that Australia was not terra nullius (land belonging to nobody) when it was claimed by Britain in 1770. This led to the Native Title Act 1993, which made it possible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to claim ownership of their traditional lands; and the Bringing Them Home report, published in 1997, showed that thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait children had been taken away from their families by governments around Australia. These children have become known as the Stolen Generations. The report said that all Australian governments should apologise to Indigenous people, especially the Stolen Generations.11 So many people participated in the walk that the event took nearly six hours. It was the largest political demonstration ever held in Australia. Finally, eight years after the walk Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a national apology to Australia’s Indigenous people. “On 13 February 2008, the Parliament of Australia issued a formal apology to Indigenous Australians for forced removals of Australian Indigenous children (often referred to as the Stolen Generations) from their families by Australian federal and state government agencies.”12

Better late than never…

 

Racism

By the time John Faviell started taking photographs for his album a twentieth-century, Euro- and U.S.-centric middle class had been dazzled by the “Kodakification” of photography. Small portable cameras with roll film and a faster film speed enabled “amateur” photographers,13 people who “simply wanted pictures as mementos of their daily lives but were hardly interested in learning how to do the rest”14 – that is, developing, printing and toning their own photographs – to document their existence and then send the film away to be developed and printed. George Eastman’s slogan for Kodak, “You Press the Button, We Do the Rest,” revolutionised the photography business in the United States and in the world, allowing the great mass of the general public to take photographs and assemble family albums (for example). In these vernacular photographs – “those countless ordinary and utilitarian pictures made for souvenir postcards, government archives, police case files, pin-up posters, networking Web sites, and the pages of magazines, newspapers, or family albums”15 – the focus is on the social contexts in which the photos were originally made and how they document an aspect of social or photo history. These images, including those by John Faviell, ask us to consider “the ways in which photographs function as significant bearers of complex meaning, rather than mere descriptions or reflections of the world, whether they grace the walls of a museum, the pages of a magazine, the files in a cabinet, or a living room mantel.”16 Commenting on photo postcards but equally applicable to vernacular photographs, Leonard A. Lauder observes that, “The new flexibility and mobility of this medium created citizen photographers who captured life on the ground around them… [and] we learn from them both the grand historical narrative and the smaller events that made up the daily lives of those who participated in that history.”17

Even as the freedom to photograph anywhere, anytime led to the ability of humans with access to a camera and the money to develop and pay for film and prints to document their lives – an intimate portrait of a life in the making, constructed by people for themselves – it also, paradoxically, led to the Kodification, codification, of everyday life… into the haves and the have nots, into people who were portrayed existing at the upper echelons of society, to those that existed as policemen, factory workers, or working on construction sites (for example), or those that existed at the margins of society, the disenfranchised, abused and neglected “other”, subject to the gaze of the photographer and the mechanical observation of the camera.

Even as he welcomes his own ambition and sense of self worth there is a sense of conservatism and privilege in the depiction of his social position in Australian society. In his private photographic album, John Faviell places himself at the centre of the story, at the centre of history, as though he is constructing not only his own place in the history of Australia but the history of Australia itself. His photographs portray his life embedded within the “golden splendour” of the Australian landscape even as the photographs reinforce in private the cultural and photographic norms circulating in public in 1920s-1930s Australia,18 its heteropatriarchy, settler coloniality and the racism prevalent in early 20th century Australia. Through the many titled photographs Faviell projects the inherent racism towards Aboriginal people that was present at that time in white society, the notion of white superiority that was implicit in the White Australia Policy.19 In this regard he would not have seen himself as racist (I have no idea whether he was racist or not) for he was merely reflecting the social attitudes of the day, reflecting a collective racism that pervaded all aspects of white Australian society officially sanctioned through the White Australia Policy, an attitude which continues to haunt Australia’s past, present and future.

While now totally offensive Faviell would have thought nothing of captioning his photographs with titles such as Grave in Nigger’s Cemetery, Shark’s Bay, 1923; A Nor’ West Gin and Big Nig, Shark’s Bay, 1923; and Nellie and her litter, 1923, where after colonisation “gin” became a racist, derogatory term for an Aboriginal woman quickly used against female Aborigines to express a mix of lust and racial contempt, becoming a “dehumanising weapon essential to the violence of occupation,” which led to the systematic rape, abduction and murder of Aboriginal girls and women. He would have thought nothing of titling his photograph Nellie and her litter, the text loaded with casual racism which compares Indigenous Australians to dogs. But what is important to note here is how individuals make use of images in shaping their identities, and how Faviell’s images informed the construction of his own identity and the embodying of his own power.

Photographs tend to be indispensable in the construction of identity because of the phenomenal aspect of photography – its status as a spatio-temporal capture – where memory traces and their capture become a visible reality, and where contexts (point of view) and power can be replayed over and over again, made present in absence.20 Faviell’s album of photographs and the use of the art of memory (Latin: ars memoriae: a number of loosely associated mnemonic principles and techniques used to organise memory impressions) would have allowed him to organise his memory impressions and improve the recall of them. Faviell could have used a set of associative values given for images in memory texts (Nigger, gin) as a starting point to initiate a chain of recollection. “Techniques commonly employed in the art [of memory] include the association of emotionally striking memory images within visualized locations, the chaining or association of groups of images, the association of images with schematic graphics or notae (“signs, markings, figures” in Latin), and the association of text with images.”21

Here we must acknowledge that human beings, including Faviell, are not just actors in history, they are enablers. Enablers of racism whose slippery tentacles still enslave this country Australia down to its very roots – at the footy, on social media, in government, on the land – even today. As the artist Octora observes, “A photograph is not merely evidence of the past or a slice of a passing moment, it is performative and still performs to distort actual reality today.”22 But changing how photographs perform realities and memories is not easy, for there are other forces at play to which photographs only reinforce social prejudices: “There is a racism that lurks within the Australian consciousness and is fuelled by an uneasy conscience caused by our treatment of Aborigines in the past and out fear from the future.”23

What we must do is confront this fear and propose a narrative that moves beyond those reflected in our existing histories… for memory is not just a personal remembering (the product and property of individual minds) but a collective remembering, “concerned with remembering and forgetting as socially constituted activities… Individual memories cannot be understood as ‘internal mental processes’ which occur independently of the interpretive and communicative practices which characterise a particular society or culture. Individuals ‘read’, account for and negotiate their memories within the pragmatics of social life.”24 As would John Faviell have done.

We must remember that historical memories help form the social and political identities of groups of people and that in Australia there is a collective amnesia surrounding the White Australia policy, a social amnesia where there is a collective forgetting by a group, or nation, of people about the effects of a certain policy – because they are ignorant of it, because they don’t care, because they agree with the policy, or because they benefit from the policy – and they forget about it. Things remain the same, the status quo is maintained, and mythologies of a white nation remain impervious to change. There is also a collective remembering that this is the policy of the government, that it keeps the country homogenous, and wards of the invasion of non-desirables. People of colour and “others”.

So how can looking at historic photographs, such as those in John Faviell’s photographic album, affect change? According to Mika Elo,

“Photographs are nomadic and relational images. They are scalable and can be inscribed in many kinds of material supports, which means that they carry in themselves references to something beyond their own instantiations. Something similar applies to power. Power can be restrictive or productive, personalized or impersonal, but it is always relational. With regard to visual representation, power is neither entirely inherent to specific images nor entirely reducible to the context. Rather, we might consider it a parergonal [a subordinate activity or work: work undertaken in addition to one’s main employment] phenomenon. As we all know, power relations can effectively be built up and worked against with photographic images. This means that in each individual case the borders between information, propaganda and advertising are necessarily indistinct – even if the face offered by the photograph as an image is distinct. The distinctness of an image is always dissimilarity [its groundlessness of meaning in a ‘network’ of significations]. The way in which a photograph cuts itself off from everything else introduces a mute interval that fosters many kinds of speech, whether banal, creative, humiliating or empowering. In any case, the photographic cut necessarily introduces basic conditions for power relations: it introduces a point of view into relational structures. Its effects can be both imaginary and symbolic. Depending on the point of view, the cut can be transformative or conservative, emancipatory or suppressive, subversive or destructive.”25

.
In this sense images, rather than being a representation of a palpable materiality at a particular point in time and with a particular interpretation, never cease to present their multiple aspects open to reinterpretation. Collectively and individually photographs can seize us, can hold us in their thrall. But we are not passive observers that approach the present which is absent, a particular floating “reality” that is embedded in a photograph, but an active participant in the encounter with performance and gesture… in the eyes of the observer. As Žarko Paić notes of the observer, “His role has changed significantly. It is no longer a Kantian passive subject to the reflection of a beautiful, nor a Nietzschean active producer who disturbs indifferent senses. The observer does not look at what’s happening in a picture like an idle screen. Violence caused by the rise of the chaotic reality of the twentieth century, wars and revolutions, by the technical acceleration of the cinematic energy of one’s life, becomes the “energy” and “intensity” of the image. The image is always an image of something. It is therefore mimetic in its aspiration to turn life into the objectivity of reality. However, the representation of something does not mean that it is only an empty intentional act of observing objects.”26 As Mika Elo states, “… power is necessarily inscribed in technologies, practices and discourses of photography in many ways. Photographic powers have their past, presence and future. They have their visible and invisible forms.”27

And so this is what we can collectively and individually undertake. We can look at John Faviell’s private photographs and confront the racist societal violence28 against Aboriginal people depicted through image and text, and we can disrupt their historicity, in public, in the here and now. We can acknowledge past determinations of these photographs and delimit that determination and identification in a network of significations… so that we celebrate the life of the disenfranchised because they are not to be seen as such. These are human beings living their life and are as equally as valuable as anybody else, and we can acknowledge this because we approach the photograph to embrace the … the “energy” and “intensity” of the image. And the “presence” and spirit of the people not as subject but as the thing itself.29

The observer actively engages with the photograph to bring these human beings to life in their imagination,30 to inhabit a reality that can in the present be changed. Every look performs this operation because only through this recon/figuration, this transformation, this metamorphosis, can we assess the past with fresh eyes and not be complicit in the racism and socially constituted activities of the past which still affect us today. Only by bringing the visible and invisible forms of racism into the open in the present can we open up new possibilities for the future.

As the photographer Frederick Sommer sagely opines,

The world is a reality,
not because of the way it is,
but because
of the possibilities it presents.

 

Dr Marcus Bunyan
January 2023

Word count: 4,671

See Part 1 of the posting

 

 

Footnotes

1/ “Great Depression in Australia,” on the Wikipedia website [Online] Cited 30/08/2021

2/ Lisa Matthews (director). “Shifting Allegiances,” from Australia in Colour Season One, Episode Two. TV Mini Series. Strange Than Fiction Films, 2019

3/ Ibid.,

4/ Anonymous. “The 1938 Day of Mourning,” on the AIATSIS website Nd [Online] Cited 21/02/2022

5/ Isabella Higgins and Sarah Collard. “Captain James Cook’s landing and the Indigenous first words contested by Aboriginal leaders,” on the ABC News website Wed 29 Apr 2020 quoted in Jens Korff. “Australia Day – Invasion Day,” on the Creative Spirits website 26 July 2021 [Online] Cited 03/05/2022

6/ Anita Heiss. “Significant Aboriginal Events in Sydney,” on the Barani website Nd [Online] Cited 22/07/2021.

7/ Ibid.,

8/ Pose, Melanie. “Indigenous Protest, Australian Bicentenary, 1988,” on the Museums Victoria Collections website 2009 [Online] Cited 03/05/2022 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

9/ Ibid.,

10/ Natalie Cromb. “Analysis: The ’88 protests,” on the SBS NTIV website 29 January, 2018 [Online] Cited 03/05/2022. No longer available online

11/ Anonymous. “Walk for reconciliation,” on the National Museum of Australia website 12 May 2021 [Online] Cited 03/05/2022

12/ “Apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples,” on the Wikipedia website [Online] Cited 03/05/2022

13/ “Vernacular photography is also to be distinguished from amateur photography. While vernacular photography is generally situated outside received art categories (though where the lines are drawn may vary), “amateur photography” contrasts with “professional photography”: “[A]mateur [photography] simply means that you make your living doing something else”.”
Langford, Michael and Bilissi, Efthimia. Langford’s Advanced Photography. Oxford, UK and Burlington, MA: Focal Press. 2011, p. 1 quoted in Anonymous. “Vernacular photography,” on the Wikipedia website Nd [Online] Cited 06/05/2022

14/ Anonymous. “You Press the Button, We Do the Rest,” on the Wikipedia website Nd [Online] Cited 06/05/2022

15/ Anonymous. “In the Vernacular,” on the Art Institute of Chicago website, 2010 [Online] Cited 06/05/2022

16/ Ibid.,

17/ Leonard A. Lauder quoted in the press release for Real Photo Postcards: Pictures from a Changing Nation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 17th March – 25th July, 2022 Nd [Online] Cited 06/05/2022

18/ Kris Belden-Adams. “CFP – ‘These Are Our Stories’: Global Expressions of “Other” Histories, Narratives, and Identities in Photographic Albums,” on the Humanities and Social Science Online website January 23, 2020 [Online] Cited 03/05/2022

19/ See Anonymous. “White Australia Policy,” on the Wikipedia website Nd [Online] Cited 25/12/2022; Anonymous. “White Australia Policy,” on the National Museum of Australia website Nd [Online] Cited 25/12/2022; and Anonymous. “The Immigration Restriction Act 1901,” on the National Archives of Australia website Nd [Online] Cited 25/12/2022

20/ Mika Elo. “Introduction: Photography Research Exposed to the Parergonal Phenomenon of “Photographic Powers”,” in Elo, Mika and Karo, Marko (eds.,). Photographic Powers – Helsinki Photomedia 2014. Aalto University publication series, 2015, pp. 7-8.

21/ Anonymous. “Art of Memory,” on the Wikipedia website Nd [Online] Cited 25/12/2022

22/ The artist Octora quoted in James McArdle. “16 July: Writing,” on the On This Date In Photography website 16/07/2021 [Online] Cited 22/07/2021.

23/ The Right Reverend George Hearn quoted in “Birthday hype ‘blurs’ history,” in The Canberra Times Sun 1 May 1988 on the Trove website [Online] Cited 22/07/2021.

24/ David Middleton and Derek Edwards (eds.,). Collective Remembering. Sage Publications, 1990

25/ Mika Elo, Op cit., pp. 7-8

26/ Žarko Paić. “The Dark Core Of Mimesis: Art, Body And Image In The Thought Of Jean-Luc Nancy,” on the TVRDA website August 20, 2022 [Online] Cited 25/12/2022

27/ Mika Elo, Op cit., pp. 7-8

28/ “Racist violence is exemplary. It is the violence that knocks someone in the face, simply because – as the stupid twat might say – it “doesn’t like the look” on his face. The face is denied truth. The truth meanwhile lies in a figure that deduces itself to the blow that it strikes. Here, truth is true because it is violent, and it is true in its violence: it is a destructive truth in the sense in which destruction verifies and makes true.”
Jean-Luc Nancy. The Ground of the Image. Translated by Jeff Fort. Fordham University Press, 2005, p. 17.

29/ Ibid., p. 21.

30/ “The image not only exceeds the form, the aspect, the calm surface of representation, but in order to do so item just draw upon a ground – or a groundlessness – of excessive power. The image must be imagined; that is to say, it must extract from its absence the unity of force that the thing merely at hand does not present. Imagination is not the faculty of representing something in its absence; it is the force that draws the form of presentation out of absence: that is to say, the force of “self-presenting.””
Jean-Luc Nancy. The Ground of the Image. Translated by Jeff Fort. Fordham University Press, 2005, p. 21.

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Many thankx to the State Library of New South Wales for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Grateful thankx to Douglas Stewart Fine Books for their research help with this photo album. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Shark’s Bay,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Locations

  • Blue Mountains, NSW (1922)
  • Leura Falls, NSW (1922)
  • Weeping Rock, Wentworth Falls, NSW (1922)
  • Tarana Picnic Races, NSW (1922)
  • Doona, Breeza, NSW (1922)
  • Avoca, NSW (1922)
  • Newcastle Races, NSW (1923)
  • Belmont / Belmont Regatta, NSW (1923)
  • Hawkesbury, NSW (1923)
  • Frenches Forest, NSW (1923)
  • “Foxlow” Station, Bungedore, NSW (1923)
  • Sydney, NSW (Customs House, National Art Gallery, Mitchell Library, Darlinghurst Courthouse) (1923)
  • Muswellbrook Picnic Races, NSW (1923)
  • Maitland / Maitland Cup Meeting, NSW (1923)
  • Breeza, NSW (1923)
  • Wiseman’s Ferry, NSW (1923)
  • Moss Vale / Sutton Forest Church, NSW (1923)
  • Frensham, NSW (1923)
  • La Perouse, NSW (Historical Society Excursion) (1923)
  • Old Customs Watch Tower, La Perouse (1923)
  • The Old Illawarra Road, NSW (1923)
  • Yarcowie, SA (1923)
  • Trans-Australian Railway (Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie) (1923)
  • Karonie, WA (1923)
  • Kalgoorlie, WA (1923)
  • Boulder City, WA (1923)
  • Fremantle, WA (1923)
  • Geraldton, WA (1923)
  • Shark’s Bay, WA (1923)
  • Henry Freycinet Estuary, WA (1923)
  • Tamala Station, WA (1923)
  • Perth, WA (1923)
  • Adelaide, SA (Torrens River) (1923)
  • “Redbank,” Scone, NSW (1924)
  • Muswellbrook Picnic Races, NSW (1924)
  • “Craigieburn,” Bowral, NSW (1924)
  • The Dudley Cup at Kensington, NSW (1924)
  • Camden Grammar School, NSW (1924)
  • Liverpool Church, NSW (1924)
  • Landsdowne Bridge, NSW (1924)
  • Jenolan Caves, NSW (1924)
  • Avon Dam, NSW (1924)
  • Herald Office, Pitt Street, NSW (1924)
  • Camping, Cronulla, NSW (1925)
  • Roseville, NSW (1926)
  • Whale Beach, NSW (1927)
  • Visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, Macquarie Street, NSW (1927)
  • 20, Yarranabbe Rd., Darling Point, NSW (1926)
  • Canberra, ACT (1927)
  • Jenolan Caves, NSW (Lady Dorothy Hope-Morley) (1927)
  • Ellen’s Isle, Loch Katrine, Scotland (1925)
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge, NSW (1931-32)
  • “Springfield,” Byng, Near Orange, NSW (1932)
  • Lucknow, near Orange, NSW (1933)
  • Hawkesbury, NSW (1933)
  • Bathurst, NSW (1933)
  • “Millambri, ” Canowindra, NSW (1933)
  • Melbourne, VIC (1933)

 

Topics

  • Men
  • Pastoralism and grazing
  • Horses / country horse racing
  • Sheep and shearing
  • Cows
  • Mill / logging
  • Pine plantation
  • Bush
  • Bores and dams
  • Cathedral / churches
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Cars (Ford, Pan-American, Essex, Oldsmobile, early Hupmobile, Chrysler 70)
  • Buses
  • Bank, post office
  • Pastoral Play
  • Monuments
  • Rock carvings
  • Houses
  • Cemetery / tombstones
  • John Dunn, executed 1866
  • South Australian Railways / locomotives
  • S.A. constable and Adelaide cop
  • Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal types, along the Trans-Australian Railway)
  • Australian Desert Blacks
  • Gold mine / gold panning
  • Mining (Boulder and Perseverance Mines)
  • Convict gaol
  • Oldest inhabitant (Henry Desmond)
  • Hotels
  • Beach and sea, surf girls
  • Mother of pearl
  • Dates
  • Afghan / camels
  • Yachting, sailing / boats
  • Guano
  • Fred Adams, Boss-Pearler
  • Stations and station hands
  • Rowing
  • Dredging
  • Polo
  • Rugby
  • Caves
  • Guns
  • Nobility and royalty
  • Camping, picnics
  • Tennis
  • House building / old houses
  • Parliament House
  • Prime Ministers residence
  • Bridges and bridge building
  • Federal and state governors
  • The world’s first auto-gyro plane (1909-1912)
  • The Southern Cross
  • Pioneers
  • Mounted police
  • First house in Byng
  • Rabbiting
  • Glamour
  • Social status / socialite
  • Family
  • Women and children
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge opening
  • Carillon (bells)
  • Myers and Bourke Street, Melbourne

 

 

"An Afghan's turnout," 1923 John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“An Afghan’s turnout,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Shark's Bay, Lloyd's Camels (Bred on Dirk Hartog Island)," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Shark’s Bay, Lloyd’s Camels (Bred on Dirk Hartog Island),” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"A five-days cruise on the Cutter "Shark"," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“A five-days cruise on the Cutter “Shark”,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Amongst the Islands of Henri Freycinet Estuary," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Amongst the Islands of Henri Freycinet Estuary,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Henri Freycinet Harbour, also known as Freycinet Estuary, is one of the inner gulfs of Shark Bay, Western Australia, a World Heritage Site that lies to the west of the Peron Peninsula. It has a significantly larger number of islands than Hamelin Pool, and has a number of smaller peninsulas known as “prongs” on its northern area. It has also been identified as a critical dugong habitat area. It is situated within the Shark Bay Marine Park.

 

"Fred Adams, Boss-Pearler, Shark's Bay, W.A.," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Fred Adams, Boss-Pearler, Shark’s Bay, W.A.,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Pearling in Western Australia was an important part of the European colonisation of the North West. Although it was never considered a permanent part of the state economy, pearling, with its immediate returns, allowed pastoralists to establish stations and contributed to the foundation of several towns. Some of these towns evolved into centres for agriculture and tourism and some developed their port facilities. Others did not outlive the availability of and market for pearlshell. Uniquely, Shark Bay not only survived the demise of the industry, but developed into the state’s commercial fishing centre. The pearling boats were simply refitted to become fishing boats (OH 2266/8) and the Bay life continued…

Wilyah Miah. An Archaeological Study of the History of the Shark Bay Pearling Industry 1850-1930. University of Western Australia, 1999, p. 7.

 

""Natty" Black & Adams," in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“”Natty” Black & Adams,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Sharks Bay," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Sharks Bay,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"J.F." 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“J.F.” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Boss-pearler Henfrey, and his "missus", opening shell," 1923in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Boss-pearler Henfrey, and his “missus”, opening shell,” 1923in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

The first labour employed in the industry was that of the local Aboriginal people. Little is known of the pre-European Aboriginal people of the Bay. It is not clear whether it was the territory of the Nanda or the Mulgana people (Bowdler 1992:5) although current consensus among the people of Shark Bay is that they are Mulgana (Bowdler pers. comm. 1999). They were easily accessible and there were no expectations that they should be paid the wages of other labourers. Willingness on the part of the Aboriginal people to participate in the industry was often an issue irrelevant to the interests of the pearlers. Goods such as alcohol may have been an inducement, but, according to Anderson (1978) in her study of the North West industry, coercion was necessary and practices such as blackbirding were employed to acquire labour. The introduction of pastoralism, by its appropriation of land, ensured the destruction of the traditional Aboriginal economy and forced them to provide for the market the only commodity available to them, their labour (Hartwig 1975:32).

Wilyah Miah. An Archaeological Study of the History of the Shark Bay Pearling Industry 1850-1930. University of Western Australia, 1999, p. 18.

 

"Tamala Station, Shark's Bay, W.A.," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Tamala Station, Shark’s Bay, W.A.,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

This pastoral station is in the southern part of Shark Bay World Heritage Area on limestone-dominated landscapes. The main attraction of Tamala Station is the low lying coastline and waters of Henri Freycinet Harbour. Many visitors only cross this property on their way to Steep Point but some spend time here camping, fishing and exploring the prongs and peninsulas. Tamala Station allows access to the general public but you must first contact the station managers for bookings.

Text from the Shark Bay World Heritage website

 

"Tamala Station Hands," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Tamala Station Hands,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Well Ziffed Stockman," in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Well Ziffed Stockman,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Ziff, Australian for beard. The Oxford English Dictionary says this slang term originated around 1919, but otherwise the origin is unknown. To be ziffed means to be bearded.

 

"Untitled," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Nellie and her litter," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Nellie and her litter,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Western Australia," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Western Australia,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Perth," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Perth,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Returning from the West," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Returning from the West,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Redbank", Scone, N.S.W.," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Redbank”, Scone, N.S.W.,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

W.T. Badgery, horsebreeder, at Scone, Hunter Valley (Information from Douglas Stewart Fine Books)

Scone /ˈskoʊn/ is a town in the Upper Hunter Shire in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia. It is on the New England Highway north of Muswellbrook about 270 kilometres north of Sydney, and is part of the New England (federal) and New England (state) electorates. Scone is in a farming area and is also noted for breeding Thoroughbred racehorses. It is known as the ‘Horse capital of Australia’.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

"Muswellbrook Picnic Races," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Muswellbrook Picnic Races,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Polo, Scone v Muswellbrook," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Polo, Scone v Muswellbrook,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Craigieburn", Bowral, N.S.W.," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Craigieburn”, Bowral, N.S.W.,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Craigieburn, Bowral is a house of historical significance as it was built in about 1885. It was originally the mountain retreat for a wealthy Sydney merchant and was owned by him for over twenty years. It was then the home of several other prominent people until about 1918 when it was converted into a hotel. Today it still provides hotel accommodation and is a venue for special events particularly weddings and conferences.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

"Bryden Brown and Jack Whitehouse," 1923 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Bryden Brown and Jack Whitehouse,” 1923 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"The Dudley Cup at Kensington," 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“The Dudley Cup at Kensington,” 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"C.G.S Football, School v Old Boys," 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“C.G.S Football, School v Old Boys,” 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Camden Grammar School

“At the close of the last century the school was moved to the present situation at Studley Park, Narellan, formerly the residence of A. Payne Esq., a magnificent residence standing on the brow of a hill over looking the Nepean Valley and surrounded by 200 acres of rich country.” (Trove) The school was at Studley Park House 1902-1933.

 

"Half-time," 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Half-time,” 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Untitled," 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled,” 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Trip to Jenolan Caves," October, 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Trip to Jenolan Caves,” October, 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Audrey Pickburn

Audrey Pickburn was a Sydney socialite. Her mother who was obviously playing chaperone on this trip to Jenolan Caves (Information from Douglas Stewart Fine Books) (Information from Douglas Stewart Fine Books)

Audrey Pickburn and John Faviell were married on Tuesday 24 February 1925.

 

AT ST. JAMES’

LAST NIGHT’S WEDDING

FAVIELL – PICKBURN

ST. JAMES Church, Kings Street was crowded last night for the wedding or Miss Audrey Pickburn, only child of the late Judge Pickburn, and Mrs. Pickburn of Springfield, Darllnghurst and Mr John Favlell, of “Collinroobie”. The church was decorated by girl friends of the bride and the ceremony was performed by Rev. T. L—-.

A lovely bridal gown of gleaming white was hand embroidered with pearls and diamente, and made with a long train, which was encrusted with pearls and lined with shell pink georgette. Silver thread embroideries also appeared on the train, which was finished with true-lovers knots. A plain tulle veil, held with a coronet of orange blossom, and a bouquet of orchids completed the ensemble.

Miss Gretel Bullmore was chief bridesmaid wearing a gown of golden lame, flared at the hem. Miss Eileen Wiley and Miss Joyce Russell were also In attendance. Their frocks of lame were made —– effect. All three wore golden crin. hats, trimmed with —- and floating blue scarves, with gold thread embroideries, and they carried bouquets of orchids.

Mr. Claude Pain was in attendance as best man. Mr. Guy Little and Mr Keith Hardie acted as groomsmen. The reception was held at the Queen’s Club where the bride & mother received a big number of guests.

The Labor Daily, Tuesday, 24 February 1925, Page 7 on the Trove website [Online] Cited 05/11/2019

(The Queen’s Club, 137 Elizabeth Street, Sydney established in 1912, is a private Club. The Club was founded for social purposes for country and city women.)

 

PICKBURN – FAVIELL

The biggest social event of the month was the wedding on Tuesday night of Miss Mclanie Audrey Pickburn, only daughter of the late Judge Pickburn and Mrs. Pickburn, of ‘Springfield,’ Darlinghurst, to Mr. Jack “Riverstone” Faviell, of Sydney, son of the late Mr. A. Faviell, Colinroobie, Narandera, and Mrs. Faviell, Kiribilli, which was celebrated at St. James’s Church, King-street, Sydney, by the Rev. E. C. Lucas, of St. John’s, Darlinghurst. The church was beautifully decorated in white and gold.

Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser, Friday, 27 February 1925, Page 6 on the Trove website [Online] Cited 05/11/2019

 

Jenolan Caves

The Jenolan Caves (Tharawal: Binoomea, Bindo, Binda) are limestone caves located within the Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve in the Central Tablelands region, west of the Blue Mountains, in Jenolan, Oberon Council, New South Wales, in eastern Australia. The caves and 3,083-hectare (7,620-acre) reserve are situated approximately 175 kilometres (109 mi) west of Sydney, 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Oberon and 30 kilometres (19 mi) west of Katoomba.

The caves are the most visited of several similar groups in the limestone caves of the country, and the most ancient discovered open caves in the world.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

"Caves Service Car," 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Caves Service Car,” 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"My Pan American," 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“My Pan American,” 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Audrey Pickburn," 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Audrey Pickburn,” 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Jenolan Caves," October, 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Jenolan Caves,” October, 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Audrey," 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Audrey,” 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Untitled," in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Admiral Sir Dudley Rawson Stratford de Chair, KCB, KCMG, MVO (30 August 1864 – 17 August 1958) was a senior Royal Navy officer and later Governor of New South Wales. …

 

Governor of New South Wales

De Chair had been interested in serving in a viceregal role as early as 1922, when he put his name forward to the Colonial Office for the position of Governor of South Australia. This position however, went to Sir Tom Bridges instead and the First Lord of the Admiralty, Leo Amery, put de Chair’s name forward for the Governor of New South Wales. This position, which had been vacant since the death of Sir Walter Davidson in September 1923, was the same one his uncle, Sir Harry Rawson, had held twenty years earlier, and to which he was appointed on 8 November 1923.

Arriving in Sydney on 28 February 1924, de Chair became governor in relatively calm political times and was warmly received in the city with great fanfare. On de Chair’s appointment, the President of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Aubrey Halloran, compared Admiral de Chair to the first Governor, Captain Arthur Phillip: “Our new Governor’s reputation as an intrepid sailor and ruler of men evokes from us a hearty welcome and inspires us to place in him the same confidence that [Arthur] Phillip received from his gallant band of fellow-sailors and the English statesmen who sent him.”

The political makeup of the state changed not long after his arrival however, when the conservative Nationalist/Progressive coalition government of Sir George Fuller, whom de Chair had got on well with, was defeated at the May 1925 state election by the Labor Party under Jack Lang. De Chair noted to himself that Lang and his party’s position comprised “radical and far-reaching legislation, which had not been foreshadowed in their election speeches”. He also later wrote that Lang’s “lack of scruple gave me a great and unpleasant surprise”.

With the Labor Government only holding a single seat majority in the Legislative Assembly and only a handful of members in the upper Legislative Council, one of Lang’s main targets was electoral reform. The Legislative Council, comprising members appointed by the Governor for life terms, had long been seen by Lang and the Labor Party as an outdated bastion of conservative privilege holding back their reform agenda. Although previous Labor premiers had managed to work with the status quo, such as requesting appointments from the Governor sufficient to pass certain bills, Lang’s more radical political agenda required more drastic action to ensure its passage. Consequently, Lang and his government sought to abolish the council, along the same lines that their Queensland Labor colleagues had done in 1922 to their Legislative Council, by requesting from de Chair enough appointments to establish a Labor majority in the council that would then vote for abolition.

While Lang’s attempts ultimately failed, de Chair failed to gain the support of an indifferent Dominions Office. With Lang’s departure in 1927, the Nationalist Government of Thomas Bavin invited him in 1929 to stay on as Governor for a further term. De Chair agreed only to a year’s extension and retired on 8 April 1930.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

"Old Herald Office - Pitt St.,' 1924 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Old Herald Office – Pitt St.,’ 1924 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Aboard the Orvieto," September, 1925 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Aboard the Orvieto,” September, 1925 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Curtis (Captain Arthur Curtis)," 1925 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Curtis (Captain Arthur Curtis),” 1925 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Roseville," 1926 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Roseville,” 1926 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Picnics - Whale Beach / Visit of the Duke & Duchess of York," 1927 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Picnics – Whale Beach / Visit of the Duke & Duchess of York,” 1927 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Visit of the Duke & Duchess of York," 1927 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Visit of the Duke & Duchess of York,” 1927 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"A house is nearly built - 20 Yarranabbe Road, Darling Point," 1926 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“A house is nearly built – 20 Yarranabbe Road, Darling Point,” 1926 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

"Buying the land," 1926 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Buying the land,” 1926 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Three harbour views taken from upstairs," 1926 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Three harbour views taken from upstairs,” 1926 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Harbour view," 1926 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Harbour view,” 1926 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Audrey Pickburn and Jack Faviell divorced in October 1930. Audrey re-married in 1934 and so did Jack (Information from Douglas Stewart Fine Books)

 

IN DIVORCE

(Before Mr. Justice Pike)

FAVIELL v FAVIELL

Jack Riverstone Faviell sued for divorce from Melanie Audrey Faviell (formerly Pickburn) on the ground of non compliance with a decree for restitution of conjugal rights. The parties were married at Sydney in February, 1925, according to the rites of the Church of England. A decree nisi, returnable in six months, was granted. Mr. Toose (instructed by Messrs. Allen, Allen, and Hemsley) appeared for the petitioner.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, 11 October 1930. Page 8 on the Trove website [Online] Cited 05/11/2019

 

The party below is for Jack with his second wife whom he married in 1934; Miss Rosenthal from Melbourne (Information from Douglas Stewart Fine Books)

 

“Party at Darling Point”

MRS. JOHN FAVIELL, looking very cool in a pink and grey floral sheer frock and shady natural straw hat, was hurrying about town in yesterday’s heat to complete arrangements for the Christmas party and dance at her home, 20 Yarranabbe Road, Darling Point, on Friday.

The party will be held from Ave till ten p.m., and the proceeds will be in aid of the Blind Institution. A Christmas tree will be among the attractions.

The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday, 15 December 1937. Page 12 on the Trove website [Online] Cited 05/11/2019

 

"Trip to Canberra," 5/6 November, 1927 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Trip to Canberra,” 5/6 November, 1927 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Prime Minister's Residence," 1927 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Prime Minister’s Residence,” 1927 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Trip to Canberra," 5/6 November, 1927 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Trip to Canberra,” 5/6 November, 1927 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

The prophetic tombstone of Sarah, George and Betsy Webb. The inscription is prophetic “For here we have no continuing city but seek one to come” St John’s Churchyard, Constitution Avenue, Reid.

 

"Taken by Lady Dorothy Hope-Morley, Jenolan Caves Trip,' 10/12th July, 1927 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Taken by Lady Dorothy Hope-Morley, Jenolan Caves Trip,’ 10/12th July, 1927 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Dorothy Edith Isabel Hope-Morley (Hobart-Hampden)
Birthdate: April 11, 1891
Death: December 15, 1972
Daughter of Sidney, 7th Earl of Buckinghamshire, OBE and Georgiana Wilhelmina, Countess of Buckinghamshire
Wife of Hon. Claude Hope-Morley
Mother of Gordon Hope Hope-Morley, 3rd Baron Hollenden and Hon Ann Rosemary Hope Newman
Sister of John Hobart-Hampden-Mercer-Henderson, 8th Earl of Buckinghamshire and Lady Sidney Mary Catherine Anne Hobart-Hampden

 

"Taken by Lady Dorothy Hope-Morley, Jenolan Caves Trip,' 10/12th July, 1927 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Taken by Lady Dorothy Hope-Morley, Jenolan Caves Trip,’ 10/12th July, 1927 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Taken by Lady Dorothy Hope-Morley, Jenolan Caves Trip,' 10/12th July, 1927 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Taken by Lady Dorothy Hope-Morley, Jenolan Caves Trip,’ 10/12th July, 1927 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Ellen's Isle, Loch Katrine, Scotland (Audrey & me in boat)," 1925 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Ellen’s Isle, Loch Katrine, Scotland (Audrey & me in boat),” 1925 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

This photograph, the only one from overseas (Scotland), must be from Audrey and Jack’s honeymoon (1925). It is interesting that there are no other photographs from either the wedding or the honeymoon in the album. Of course, the marriage photographs could have been housed in a purpose built wedding album, but the haphazard nature of the construction of this album, with the photographs out of date order, and this the only one from the honeymoon, make me think that this album was assembled in the 1930s. Marcus

 

"Untitled," c. 1927-30 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled,” c. 1927-30 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Untitled," c. 1927-30 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled,” c. 1927-30 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew," 1929-1930 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew,” 1929-1930 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Sydney Harbour Bridge construction

Arch construction itself began on 26 October 1928. The southern end of the bridge was worked on ahead of the northern end, to detect any errors and to help with alignment. The cranes would “creep” along the arches as they were constructed, eventually meeting up in the middle. In less than two years, on Tuesday, 19 August 1930, the two halves of the arch touched for the first time. Workers riveted both top and bottom sections of the arch together, and the arch became self-supporting, allowing the support cables to be removed. On 20 August 1930 the joining of the arches was celebrated by flying the flags of Australia and the United Kingdom from the jibs of the creeper cranes.

Text from the Wikipedia website [Online] Cited 31/10/2019

 

"Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew," 1929-1930 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew,” 1929-1930 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew," 1929-1930 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew,” 1929-1930 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew," 1929-1930 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew,” 1929-1930 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew," 1929-1930 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Sydney Harbour Bridge As It Grew,” 1929-1930 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Bridge Opening, 20th March, 1932," in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Bridge Opening, 20th March, 1932,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Showing anchor cables," March, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Showing anchor cables,” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Federal and State Govenors arriving,” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Pageantry at Official Opening of Harbour Bridge - 20th March, 1932," in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Pageantry at Official Opening of Harbour Bridge – 20th March, 1932,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Pageantry at Official Opening of Harbour Bridge - 20th March, 1932," in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Pageantry at Official Opening of Harbour Bridge – 20th March, 1932,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Mounted Police," March, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Mounted Police,” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Aborigines," March, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Aborigines,” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Old King Street Bus," March, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Old King Street Bus,” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"An early Hupmobile car," March, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“An early Hupmobile car,” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

Hupmobile was an automobile built from 1909 through 1939 by the Hupp Motor Car Company.

 

"First Auto-Gyro (The World's First Auto-Gyro Plane, 1909-12)," March, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“First Auto-Gyro (The World’s First Auto-Gyro Plane, 1909-12),” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Pageantry at Official Opening of Harbour Bridge - 20th March, 1932," in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Pageantry at Official Opening of Harbour Bridge – 20th March, 1932,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Surf girls drawing Float,” from the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Surf girls drawing Float,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"The Southern Cross," March, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“The Southern Cross,” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Pioneers Float," March, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Pioneers Float,” March, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

Australian National Travel Association Smith and Julius Studios (Sydney, N.S.W.) (printer) 'Australia's 150th Anniversary Sydney 1938: Pageantry and carnival January 26th - April 25th' Sydney: The Association, 1938

 

Australian National Travel Association
Smith and Julius Studios (Sydney, N.S.W.) (printer)
Australia’s 150th Anniversary Sydney 1938: Pageantry and carnival January 26th – April 25th
Sydney: The Association, 1938
Poster
101.2 x 62.4cm
© National Library of Australia

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

 

‘The 26th of January, 1938, is not a day of rejoicing for Australia’s Aborigines; it is a day of mourning. This festival of 150 years’ so-called “progress” in Australia commemorates also 150 years of misery and degradation imposed upon the original native inhabitants by the white invaders of this country.

‘We, representing the Aborigines, now ask you, the reader of this appeal, to pause in the midst of your sesqui-centenary rejoicings and ask yourself honestly whether your “conscience” is clear in regard to the treatment of the Australian blacks by the Australian whites during the period of 150 years’ history which you celebrate?’

‘You are the New Australians, but we are the Old Australians. We have in our arteries the blood of the Original Australians, who have lived in this land for many thousands of years.’

‘You came here only recently, and you took our land away from us by force. You have almost exterminated our people, but there are enough of us remaining to expose the humbug of your claim, as white Australians, to be a civilised, progressive, kindly and humane nation.’

‘Aborigines Claim Citizen Rights!: A Statement of the Case for the Aborigines Progressive Association’, the Publicist, 1938, p. 3 quoted in Anonymous. “The 1938 Day of Mourning,” on the AIATSIS website Nd [Online] Cited 21/02/2022

 

Charles Meere (Australian, 1890-1961) '1788-1938, 150 years of progress: Australia celebrates January 26 - April 25, 1938' 1938

 

Charles Meere (Australian, 1890-1961)
1788-1938, 150 years of progress: Australia celebrates January 26 – April 25, 1938
1938
Poster
101.5 x 63.5cm
© National Library of Australia

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

'Poster advertising the Day of Mourning' 1938

 

Poster advertising the Day of Mourning
1938
AIATSIS Collection

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

 

In 1938, a poster invited “Aborigines and persons of Aboriginal blood” to attend the Day of Mourning and Protest at the Australian Hall, Sydney. It was to be held on 26 January, the 150th anniversary of European colonisation. The protest, calling for full citizen status and equality, was led by William Cooper, Pearl Gibbs, Jack Patten and William Ferguson.

Keith Munro, MCA Curator Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs, says, “The Day of Mourning event is seen as the first Aboriginal civil rights protest in Australian history. The actions that took place on this day later resulted in the establishment of a national day of celebration and achievement, which turned into a longer event now known as NAIDOC Week.”

Anonymous. “Marking 80 years since the Day of Mourning,” on the Museum of Contemporary Art website 17 May 2018 [Online] Cited 21/02/2022

 

Unknown photographer (Australian) 'The first Day of Mourning' 1938

 

Unknown photographer (Australian)
The first Day of Mourning. From the left is William Ferguson, Jack Kinchela, Isaac Ingram, Doris Williams, Esther Ingram, Arthur Williams, Phillip Ingram, Louisa Agnes Ingram OAM holding daughter Olive Ingram, and Jack Patten. The name of the person in the background to the right is not known at this stage.
AIATSIS Collection

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

 

The first Day of Mourning was a culmination of years of work by the Australian Aborigines League (AAL) and the Aborigines Progressive Association (APA). It would became the inspiration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism throughout the remainder of the twentieth century. In the early 1960s, both organisations would reform and reshape and become the driving force calling for a constitutional referendum that would take place in 1967.

The AAL was able to persuade many religious denominations to declare the Sunday before Australia Day as ‘Aboriginal Sunday’. This was to serve as a reminder of the unjust treatment of Indigenous people. The first of these took place in 1940 and continued until 1955, when it moved to the first Sunday in July.

In 1957, with support and cooperation from federal and state governments, the churches and major Indigenous organisations, a National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC) was formed, which continues to this day as NAIDOC.

Anonymous. “The 1938 Day of Mourning,” on the AIATSIS website Nd [Online] Cited 21/02/2022

 

Unknown photographer (Australian) 'Jack Patten reads the resolution at the Day of Mourning Conference on 26 January 1938'

 

Unknown photographer (Australian)
Jack Patten reads the resolution at the Day of Mourning Conference on 26 January 1938
Mar. 1938 (publication date), Sydney, N.S.W.: Man magazine
12 x 17cm
© Collections of the State Library of New South Wales

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

Unknown photographer (Australian) 'In this 1938 re-enactment of Governor Phillip's landing, Aborigines (specially brought in for the occasion) are shown running up the beach as the boats of the First Fleet marines land at Farm Cove. A group of white dignitaries sits in comfortable safety watching the invasion' 1938

 

Unknown photographer (Australian)
In this 1938 re-enactment of Governor Phillip’s landing, Aborigines (specially brought in for the occasion) are shown running up the beach as the boats of the First Fleet marines land at Farm Cove. A group of white dignitaries sits in comfortable safety watching the invasion
1938
© Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW – Home and Away

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

Unknown photographer (Australian) 'Aboriginal protests on Sydney Harbour, Australia Day, 1988' 1988

 

Unknown photographer (Australian)
Aboriginal protests on Sydney Harbour, Australia Day, 1988
1988

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) Pat Fiske (director) 'Australia Daze' (film still) 1988

 

National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA)
Pat Fiske 
(director)
Australia Daze (film still)
1988

 

 

National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA)
Pat Fiske 
(director)
Australia Daze (film clip)
1988

 

 

The production of Australia Daze involved dozens of camera crews across the nation, filming from midnight to midnight on 26 January 1988, in order to capture the many facets of the bicentenary of European settlement in Australia. From First Fleet re-enactments to Indigenous protests, backyard barbeques to royal visits, Australia Daze chronicles a broad array of events on that historic day and diverse voices and perspectives from across Australian society.

Australia Daze is a snapshot of one day in the millennia-long history of the country. The film is an opportunity for Australians to remember where they were, or to catch a glimpse of Australia’s past before they were born or arrived here. It is a chance to reflect on how much things have changed in 33 years – and also how little has changed.

Anonymous media release from the NFSA website Nd [Online] Cited 21/02/2022

 

Loui Seselja (Australian, b. 1948) 'Sydney Harbour Bridge during the Walk for Reconciliation, Corroboree 2000, with the Aboriginal flag flying beside the Australian flag' 2000

 

Loui Seselja (Australian, b. 1948)
Sydney Harbour Bridge during the Walk for Reconciliation, Corroboree 2000, with the Aboriginal flag flying beside the Australian flag
2000
22.5 x 30.7cm
© National Museum of Australia

Used under fair use condition for the purpose for research or study

 

"Untitled," c. 1932-33 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled,” c. 1932-33 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Untitled," October/November, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled,” October/November, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Chrysler 70, bought Nov., 1932," in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Chrysler 70, bought Nov., 1932,” in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Springfield", Byng, Near Orange, October 1932" in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Springfield”, Byng, Near Orange, October 1932″ in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Byng

… an area of scattered houses in green valleys (when there is no drought) dates back to before 1856.

It was originally named ‘Cornish Village’ after the original Cornish settlers who brought the first fruit trees from Cornwall and gave birth to the Orange district’s fruit industry on the ‘Pendarvis’ property. Apples were produced in Byng for over 100 years but now there are mainly cattle, sheep and a little cropping.

Driving through the winding lanes with hawthorn hedgerows on either side you will see in the distance an old homestead (Springfield) which has an old Celtic custom – on the porch there are three welcome stones. The host stands on one, the guest on another – then they greet each other on the centre stone.

Text from the Orange website [Online] Cited 01/11/2019. No longer available online

 

"Springfield", Byng, Near Orange, October 1932" in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Springfield”, Byng, Near Orange, October 1932″ in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Remains of the first house built in Byng," October, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Remains of the first house built in Byng,” October, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"At Springfield," 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“At Springfield,” 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"J.F. and Woodward," 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“J.F. and Woodward,” 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"At Springfield," 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“At Springfield,” 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Untitled (Rabbiting)," 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled (Rabbiting),” 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Hawksbury River,' 1932-33 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Hawksbury River,’ 1932-33 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Betty Broad," 16th October, 1932 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Betty Broad,” 16th October, 1932 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Lucknow, Near Orange," November, 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Lucknow, Near Orange,” November, 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Lucknow

1929-1935: Prospecting rarely ever ceases on a once lucrative gold-field and in 1928-9 companies such as St. Algnan’s (New Guinea) Gold Lodes N.L. and Lucknow Gold Options Co. were quite busy. In particular St. Aignan’s found a rich ‘brown vein’ away from ‘that portion already riddled with holes’, at a depth of only 38 feet. …

The village has a large potential to attract tourists. The iron head-frames at Wentworth Main and at Reform, right beside the highway in the village area with their accompanying equipment, are the most strikingly accessible of gold mining memorials. At Wentworth Main moreover, the largest of the iron sheds still contains a great deal of equipment, including the stamper battery and various engines. In the paddock to the west of the highway there is isolated equipment- a boiler, a winding engine. The winding house for Reform still stands.

Anonymous. “Gold mining at Lucknow,” on the Orange website [Online] Cited 01/11/2019

 

"Washing for gold on Springfield," November, 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Washing for gold on Springfield,” November, 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"St. Aignan Gold Mine," November, 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“St. Aignan Gold Mine,” November, 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Springfield," November, 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Springfield,” November, 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Old Bill on the binder," November, 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Old Bill on the binder,” November, 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Woodward : McColville ; J.F., filling the ensilage pit," November, 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Woodward : McColville ; J.F., filling the ensilage pit,” November, 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

 

Silage is a type of fodder made from green foliage crops which have been preserved by acidification, achieved through fermentation. It can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants (cud-chewing animals). The fermentation and storage process is called ensilage, ensiling or silaging, and is usually made from grass crops, including maize, sorghum or other cereals, using the entire green plant (not just the grain).

 

"At "Millambri", Canowindra," 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“At “Millambri”, Canowindra,” 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Bathurst," November 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Bathurst,” November 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Untitled (Victoria)," November, 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Untitled (Victoria),” November, 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Myers, Melbourne," November 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Myers, Melbourne,” November 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

"Bourke St., Melbourne," November 1933 in John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

“Bourke St., Melbourne,” November 1933 in John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album

 

John "Jack" Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album back cover

 

John “Jack” Riverstone Faviell 1922-1933 photo album back cover

 

 

State Library of New South Wales website

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14
Jan
23

Exhibition: ‘Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power’ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Exhibition dates: 16th October 2022 – 16th January 2023

 

'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' book cover

 

Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power book cover

 

 

Visible Man / Invisible photographer

Only five of Black American Gordon Parks’ photographs of controversial young activist Stokely Carmichael were published in Life magazine in May 1967 in a photo essay with text by Parks titled “Whip of Black Power” out of the 700 photographs that he had actually taken for the assignment. This exhibition dives into these unseen photographs.

“”Whip of Black Power” recounts Parks’s travels with Carmichael from fall 1966 to spring 1967. While the Life essay contained only five photographs, this exhibition presents 53 of Parks’s images from those critical months, a time that coincided with larger social shifts within the civil rights movement and a rising resistance to the Vietnam War. Parks challenged the disparaging view of Carmichael in the mass media, presenting him as a multifaceted and honourable character.”1

“…Parks’s text and photo essay for Life conveyed the nuanced range of Carmichael as a person – not only his anger at America’s deeply rooted racism, but his self-effacing humour, his private moments with family, and his own feelings of dismay that the justice he and the movement sought would not be attained in his lifetime – all part of a “truth,” as Parks described, “the kind that comes through looking and listening.”2

As chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the charismatic Carmichael had “issued the call for Black Power in a speech in Mississippi in June 1966, eliciting national headlines, and media backlash.” “For once, black people are going to use the word they want to use – not just the words whites want to hear. And they will do this no matter how often the press tries to stop the use of the slogan by equating it with racism or separatism.” (Stokely Carmichael) The call for Black Power was consistently misunderstood and misrepresented in the press. “What Carmichael was advocating in his call for Black Power was not revolution but the goal of self-determination: “The goal of black self-determination and black self-identity – Black Power,” Carmichael and Hamilton wrote, “is full participation in the decision-making processes affecting the lives of black people, and recognition of the virtues in themselves as black people.”3

What Parks’ photographs accomplish is to put a human face to Stokely Carmichael the revolutionary firebrand and the culture of black protest, process and progress in which he is embedded, “presenting the complexities and tensions in the ongoing struggle for civil rights and highlighting photography’s capacity to present a powerful statement against hate and fear.”4 Parks’ photographs confront “the inequalities and brutalities of our society” whilst “thrusting forth its images of hope, human fraternity, and individual self-realization.”5 Here, living, a valuable and fruitful life whilst discovering an authentic personal identity, and fighting for personal and collective freedom was the objective.

Black people have their own history, traditions and rituals that form a cohesive and complex culture which is the source of a full sense of identity. “As a photographer – through his studies of crime and gang violence to his profiles of black nationalism – Parks illuminated the diversity and richness of black life while also exposing the absurd, systemic injustice that defined the United States. Alongside his photographs, Parks’s writing encourages us to see the complexity of black life, which though demeaned by white racist institutions and behaviors is not reducible to some uniform Black experience. Rather, his own political perspective, which is decidedly more liberal than the black political figures he chose as subjects, is a testament to the diverse strivings, political positions, and discrete prerogatives that have defined black political life during and after Jim Crow.”6

The quest for a viable identity is a universal human challenge which is not dependent on colour, race or religion. As the Black American writer Ralph Ellison observes when quoted in an article by Anne Seidlitz, “black and white culture were inextricably linked, with almost every facet of American life influenced and impacted by the African-American presence – including music, language, dance, folk mythology, clothing styles and sports. Moreover, he [Ellision] felt that the task of the writer is to “tell us about the unity of American experience beyond all considerations of class, of race, of religion.”7

This is what I am hammering on about here: whilst the civil rights movement and the call for Black Power promoted a new politics of black autonomy and militancy which embodied a new politics of black self-assertion and meaningful self-determination, everything is linked together… nothing can be seen other than within a nexus of networked links which inform and affect each other. In this sense Parks’ text and images, together, present a multi-dimensional profile of this charismatic leader, this complex character – as a portrait of his perseverance, gentleness, frustration, despair, joy, anger, laughter, enthusiasm, energy, and passion – sketching the musical and rhythmic character of Stokely Carmichael embedded within the history of interconnected moments, in the contexts of the times, seen through multiple openings in the space / time continuum as the camera lens opens and closes. Parks photographs “put the viewer exactly at the moment of capture letting us be there at the scene.” And they make Stokely Carmichael visible, then and now. At the time the photographer was nearly invisible.

“Now, it’s interesting to note that when I [Lisa Volpe] would share the photos with those men and women captured in them [Parks’ photographs], they all had a very similar reaction. Each one of them remembered the scene. They remembered that meeting, or that lecture, they remembered what was being discussed and how they felt. They really had perfect recall for pretty much everything within the frame … but what was interesting was that they were all shocked to see the photographs. Not a single person I talked to remembered Gordon Parks ever being in the room. Now… when he was on assignment he truly became a fly on the wall in order to get the most truthful images possible. And yes, even speaking to these ladies [in the photograph Sanamu Nyeusi (left) and Hasani Soto (right) of the US Organization at the Watts rally, Will Rogers Park, Los Angeles (1966,below)], they did not even notice Gordon Parks probably three feet in front of them taking their photo.”8

As the recognition of Parks as a photographer has risen over the last 10 years (see the many exhibition postings on Art Blart below), with specialist exhibitions like this that analyse and promote previously hidden aspects and bodies of his work, now at last the invisible photographer stands before us, his portrait of Stokely Carmichael finally revealed in all its subtlety and complexity, intuition and com/passion. In this exhibition for example, all Parks’ negatives on the Life contact sheets were in the wrong order, and / or where from different roll of negatives on the same contact sheet (see video below).9 Through research and the reordering of the negatives we can finally see and feel what images Parks thought were important to the story that he wanted to tell about this man and his crusade (A crusader is a person who works hard or campaigns forcefully for a cause). And through this enunciation of his vision, we the viewer may come to better know what an insightful and compassionate photographer Gordon Parks was… as he now stands before us in the evident presence and generosity of his photographs.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

Footnotes

1/ Text from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston website

2/ Text from the press release from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

3/ Cedric Johnson. “Luminous Exposures: Gordon Parks, Stokely Carmichael, and the Birth of Black Politics,” in Lisa Volpe. Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power. Steidl / The Gordon Parks Foundation / The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2022, p. 28-34

4/ Gordon Parks Introduction wall text

5/ Anne Seidlitz. “Ralph Ellison: An American Journey,” on the PBS American Masters website 19/02/2002 [Online] Cited 30/12/2022

6/ Cedric Johnson, Op cit.,

7/ Anne Seidlitz, Op cit.,

8/ Text from the video of Lisa Volpe, curator of photography, discussing acclaimed photographer Gordon Parks and offering an overview of the exhibition. Lecture | Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power on the YouTube website 8th January 2023 [Online] Cited 14/01/2022

9/ Ibid.,

 

Postings about Gordon Parks on Art Blart

.
Many thankx to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

In 1967, Life magazine published photographer Gordon Parks’ groundbreaking images and profile of Stokely Carmichael, the young and controversial civil-rights leader who, as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, issued the call for Black Power in a speech in Mississippi in June 1966, eliciting national headlines, and media backlash. On the road with Carmichael and the SNCC that fall and into the spring of 1967, Parks took more than 700 photographs as Carmichael addressed Vietnam War protesters outside the U.N. building in New York, with Martin Luther King, Jr.; spoke with supporters in a Los Angeles living room; went door to door in Alabama registering Black citizens to vote; and officiated at his sister’s wedding in the Bronx. In his finely drawn sketch of a charismatic leader and his movement, Parks, then the first Black staff member at Life, reveals his own advocacy of Black Power and its message of self-determination.

 

 

 

Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston exhibition walk through

 

 

Lecture | Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power

Lisa Volpe, curator of photography, discusses acclaimed photographer Gordon Parks and offers an overview of the exhibition, which captures the civil-rights movement and activist Stokely Carmichael in the 1960s.

 

Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power book cover

 

Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power book cover

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Installation view of the exhibition 'Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power' at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

Installation views of the exhibition Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

"'What Their Cry Means to Me' – A Negro's Own Evaluation" 'Life', May 31, 1963

 

“‘What Their Cry Means to Me’ – A Negro’s Own Evaluation”
Life, May 31, 1963
Text and photographs by Gordon Parks

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Untitled, Chicago, Illinois' 1963

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Untitled, Chicago, Illinois
1963
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

"'I Was a Zombie Then – Like All Muslims, I Was Hypnotized'" 'Life', March 5, 1965

 

“‘I Was a Zombie Then – Like All Muslims, I Was Hypnotized'”
Life, March 5, 1965
Text by Gordon Parks
Photographs by Ted Russell, Bob Gomel, Henri Dauman, and Greg Harris

 

Gordon Parks 'Born Black' 1971

 

Gordon Parks, Born Black, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1971.

 

Gordon Parks. 'Muhammad Ali' 1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Muhammad Ali
1966
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

The MFAH exhibition centres on Gordon Parks’s five iconic images of controversial young activist Stokely Carmichael, published in Life magazine in May 1967. Organised with the Gordon Parks Foundation, the show presents dozens more photographs from Parks’s series that have never before been published or exhibited

Fifty-five years ago today, Life magazine published photographer Gordon Parks’s groundbreaking images and profile of Stokely Carmichael, the young and controversial civil-rights leader who, as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, issued the call for Black Power in a speech in Mississippi in June 1966, eliciting national headlines, and media backlash. On the road with Carmichael and the SNCC that fall and into the spring of 1967, Parks took more than 700 photographs as Carmichael addressed Vietnam War protesters outside the U.N. building in New York, with Martin Luther King, Jr.; spoke with supporters in a Los Angeles living room; went door to door in Alabama registering Black citizens to vote; and officiated at his sister’s wedding in the Bronx. In Parks’s finely drawn sketch of a charismatic leader and his movement, Parks, the first Black staff member at Life, reveals his own advocacy of Black Power and its message of self-determination.

On view only at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (October 16, 2022, to January 16, 2023), the exhibition Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power will present the five images from Parks’s 1967 Life article, in the context of nearly 50 additional photographs and contact sheets that have never before been published or exhibited, as well as footage of Carmichael’s speeches and interviews.

“Extending the Museum’s commitment to photography from the civil-rights era, and following our presentation of the exhibition Soul of a Nation in 2020, which included Gordon Parks’s famous 1942 American Gothic, I am very pleased that we are able to present Parks’s landmark project for Life magazine, in collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation,” commented Gary Tinterow, Director and Margaret Alkek Williams Chair of the MFAH. “Parks is well known as one of America’s most important 20th-century photographers; this exhibition will further illuminate his accomplishments as a writer and journalist, as well.”

Commented Lisa Volpe, exhibition curator and MFAH curator of photography, “Gordon Parks’s portrayal of Stokely Carmichael illustrates Parks’s unmatched talent in producing illuminating and sensitive profiles. Through dynamic photographs and a personal text, he sketches both his subject and the complexities and tensions inherent in the ongoing struggle for civil rights. It is as relevant to our current moment as it was to Life‘s readers in 1967. I am grateful to the Gordon Parks Foundation for the opportunity to present these never-before-seen works and to celebrate Parks’s legacy.”

 

Exhibition Background

Parks met Stokely Carmichael (later, Kwame Ture) in September 1966, as Carmichael’s rallying cry for “Black Power” was grabbing national attention. Parks was a prominent contributor to Life magazine, photographing and writing essays that chronicled, with his characteristic humanity, Benedictine monks and Black Muslims; a Harlem family and a teenage gang member. Carmichael, then 25 and a recent graduate with a philosophy degree from Howard University, was consistently in the news, whether publishing his own writing in the New York Review of Books or being profiled in Esquire and Look magazines.

As chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Carmichael was the figure most identified with the call for Black Power, and was routinely depicted as a representative of anger and separatism. But Parks’s text and photo essay for Life, “Whip of Black Power,” conveyed the nuanced range of Carmichael as a person – not only his anger at America’s deeply rooted racism, but his self-effacing humour, his private moments with family, and his own feelings of dismay that the justice he and the movement sought would not be attained in his lifetime – all part of a “truth,” as Parks described, “the kind that comes through looking and listening.”

 

Exhibition Organisation and Catalogue

This exhibition is organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation.

The accompanying catalogue, Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power, published by Steidl, explores Parks’s groundbreaking presentation of Carmichael, and provides detailed analysis of Parks’s images and accompanying text. The book is the latest instalment in a series that highlights Parks’s bodies of work throughout his career, published by the Gordon Parks Foundation and Steidl. Essays by Lisa Volpe, MFAH associate curator of photography, and Cedric Johnson, professor of African American studies and political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, shed critical new light on the subject: Volpe explores Parks’s nuanced understanding of the movement and its image, and Johnson frames Black Power within the heightened social and political moment of the late 1960s. Carmichael’s September 1966 essay in the New York Review of Books, “What We Want,” is reproduced in the book.

 

Gordon Parks

Parks (1912-2006) was one of the 20th century’s preeminent American photographers. Beginning in the 1940s and through the early 2000s, he created work that focused on social justice, race relations, the civil-rights movement, and the African American experience. Born into poverty and segregation in Fort Scott, Kansas, Parks won a Julius Rosenwald Fund fellowship in 1942, and went on to create groundbreaking work for the Farm Security Administration and magazines such as Ebony, Vogue, and Life, where he was staff photographer for more than two decades. Beyond his work in photography, Parks was a respected film director, composer, memoirist, novelist, and poet.

 

Stokely Carmichael

Carmichael (1941-1998) was born in Trinidad; he moved to New York City’s Harlem neighbourhood when he was 11 and became a naturalised U.S. citizen two years later. An effortless orator, a brilliant student, and a captivating leader, Carmichael found his calling as an activist. While an undergraduate at Howard University, he joined the Freedom Riders on several trips. After graduation, he was a field organiser for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and became national chairman in 1966. Carmichael heralded a new chapter in the civil-rights movement when he called for Black Power. In 1969 he moved to Conakry, Guinea, where, having adopted the name Kwame Ture, he dedicated his work to Pan-Africanism and liberation movements worldwide.

 

The Gordon Parks Foundation

The Foundation permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks; makes it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and digital media; and supports artistic and educational activities that advance what Parks described as “the common search for a better life and a better world.”

Press release from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

 

Gordon Parks Interprets Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” | UNIQLO ARTSPEAKS

A prelude to the Civil Rights movement. Naeem Douglas, a content producer on the Creative Team (at MoMA), finds contemporary resonance in a selection of photographs – including 1952’s “Emerging Man, Harlem, New York” – that Gordon Parks created to celebrate Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Stokely Carmichael, Lowndes County, Alabama' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Stokely Carmichael, Lowndes County, Alabama
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Carmichael on the road in Lowndes County, Alabama, 1966

In defiance of the governing party’s symbol – a white rooster with the phrase “White supremacy for the right” above it – Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) chose a black panther as its symbol, an animal that becomes ferocious when cornered.

Carmichael proudly wore his Black Panther sweatshirt when he was working in Lowndes County. Taken from a low angle, Parks’s portrait presents Carmichael as a heroic figure, fighting for the rights emblazoned on his shirt: freedom and justice.

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Watts Community Alert Patrol flyer at SNCC's Atlanta headquarters' 1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Watts Community Alert Patrol flyer at SNCC’s Atlanta headquarters
1966
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee pamphlet' 1966

 

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee pamphlet
1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Untitled, Atlanta, Georgia' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Untitled, Atlanta, Georgia
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Carmichael at his desk at SNCC’s Atlanta headquarters, 1966

In his profile of Carmichael, Parks aimed to combat the mass media’s one-sided depictions of the civil rights leader by capturing his complex character and emotions. At SNCC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, Parks documented Carmichael in a moment of weary frustration. A portrait of Malcolm X, photographs of Lowndes County residents, and SNCC pamphlets hang above the modest desk. Carefully composed, Parks’s photo guides viewers to a more holistic understanding of Carmichael. The view of the slumped leader with images above him also recalls scenes of religious pilgrims at an altar, deep in thought and prayer.

Label text from the exhibition

 

 

Gordon Parks Introduction wall text

In fall 1966 the American photographer and writer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was contracted by Life magazine to profile 25-year-old Stokely Carmichael, one of the most maligned and misunderstood men in America.

Carmichael, the newly elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”), issued the first public call for Black Power on June 16, 1966, in Greenwood, Mississippi. This robust vision for a Black, self-determined future combined Black unity for social and political advancement, the breaking of psychological barriers to self-love, and self-defence when necessary. Yet, media organisations dissected and defined Black Power for white audiences with various levels of prejudice and fear, and Carmichael was cast as a figure of racial violence – a distortion of his character and his message.

“Whip of Black Power,” recounts Parks’s travels with Carmichael from fall 1966 to spring 1967. While the Life essay contained only five photographs, this exhibition presents 53 of Parks’s images from those critical months, a time that coincided with larger social shifts within the civil rights movement and a rising resistance to the Vietnam War. Parks challenged the disparaging view of Carmichael in the mass media, presenting him as a multifaceted and honourable character.

Produced more than 40 years ago, Gordon Parks’s revealing profile on Stokely Carmichael is as relevant to our current moment as it was in 1967, presenting the complexities and tensions in the ongoing struggle for civil rights and highlighting photography’s capacity to present a powerful statement against hate and fear.

Unless otherwise noted, all works are by Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) and are courtesy of The Gordon Parks Foundation.

Text from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael (bottom) speaking to SNCC members and staff of The Movement, including Terry Cannon (top right, wearing glasses) and Bobbi Ricca (top right), San Francisco' 1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael (bottom) speaking to SNCC members and staff of ‘The Movement’, including Terry Cannon (top right, wearing glasses) and Bobbi Ricca (top right), San Francisco
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael speaking to SNCC members and staff of The Movement, San Francisco' 1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael speaking to SNCC members and staff of ‘The Movement’, San Francisco
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee poster, 1966

 

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee poster
1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael with Charles V. Hamilton reading a profile of Stokely in the January 1, 1967, issue of Esquire, Oxford, Pennsylvania' 1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael with Charles V. Hamilton reading a profile of Stokely in the January 1, 1967, issue of Esquire, Oxford, Pennsylvania
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

“We were in the home of [Carmichael’s] friend and adviser Charles V. Hamilton, chairman of the political science department, located near Oxford, PA,” Parks noted in his Life essay. Parks captured Carmichael and Hamilton writing and editing portions of the book, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America, published in October 1967. The text was one of many attempts to clarify the meaning of Black Power for a larger audience. Parks’s images from one writing session show the authors alternating between moments of intense concentration and overwhelming joy.

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Watts Community Alert Patrol providing transportation for the Watts rally, Los Angeles' 1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Watts Community Alert Patrol providing transportation for the Watts rally, Los Angeles
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

The Community Alert Patrol (CAP) was formed in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts Uprising. Ron Wilkins, whose car is pictured in the background, noted, “CAP volunteers constituted the first community organisation in the U.S. whose members put their lives on the line to police the police in an effort to end law enforcement’s campaign of terror against Black people.” Fearing police interference, CAP members drove Stokely Carmichael and Gordon Parks to the Watts rally in 1966.

Label text from the exhibition

 

 

Gordon Parks Section Panels

Lowndes County, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia

Although 80 percent of Lowndes County was Black, by 1965, not one Black resident was registered to vote. That year, Carmichael created the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO), a political party formed of Black residents with candidates and an agenda drawn from the community. Carmichael was certain, “If we can break Lowndes County, the rest of Alabama will fall into line.” The young leader set a dizzying schedule throughout the end of 1966 and start of 1967, travelling between Lowndes and SNCC events across the nation. Gordon Parks documented his efforts along the way, revealing Carmichael’s adaptability and charisma.

 

Watts, California

The Watts Uprising took place in August 1965 in a Black neighbourhood of South Central Los Angeles. It began with the arrest of a local man, Marquette Frye, by a highway patrol officer and ended with 4,000 arrests, 1,000 injuries, and 34 deaths. Carmichael spoke to thousands of residents one year later at the Watts rally. In a speech that resonates today, Carmichael declared, “We have to have community alert patrols, not to patrol our neighbourhoods, but to patrol the policeman.” Gordon Parks recorded the jubilant reactions of the community in words and pictures and opened his Life photo-essay by describing the energetic scene.

 

Across the Country

At a press conference following his election as chairman in May 1966, Carmichael found the white press members vehemently opposed to SNCC’s call for Black Power. He recalled, “[It was] as though they were stuck in 1960 with the student sit-ins and we were speaking in unknown tongues… [They] missed that the new direction was simply a necessary response to current political realities.” To clarify the position, Carmichael wrote persuasive articles, oversaw hundreds of press releases, agreed to dozens of interviews, and spoke across the country. Despite these efforts, Black Power was consistently misunderstood and misrepresented in the press. Carmichael noted the only fair assessment was Gordon Parks’s Life photo-essay.

 

New York, New York

On April 15, 1967, outside the United Nations headquarters, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Stokely Carmichael, and others addressed a massive crowd at the Spring Mobilization against the War in Vietnam. Carmichael’s rousing speech at the anti–Vietnam War demonstration inspired Parks to write, “[Carmichael] was on fire, spitting his heat into the crowd.” Parks’s photographs from the event similarly depict Carmichael as a fiery figure, leaning toward his audience, his gaze direct and burning, his open coat thrashing the air like licking flames.

 

Houston, Texas

Just days after Gordon Parks’s photo-essay “Whip of Black Power” was printed in Life magazine, Stokely Carmichael visited Houston. He delivered speeches at the University of Houston (UH) and at Texas Southern University (TSU). “We will define ourselves as we see fit. We will use the term that will gather momentum for our movement,” Carmichael said, addressing public critiques of Black Power. The speeches were part of a SNCC nationwide campus tour. Yet, Carmichael’s appearance in Houston was auspiciously timed. Spring 1967 was a time of heightened social unrest in the city, and local universities were hubs of civil rights activism.

Text from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

 

Black Panther Party pamphlet 1966

 

Black Panther Party pamphlet
1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Untitled, Watts, California' 1967, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Untitled, Watts, California
1967, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Members of the US Organization, including James Doss-Tayari (left), Tommy Jaquette-Mfikiri (behind Carmichael), and Ken Seaton-Msemaji (right), walking with Carmichael to the Watts rally, Los Angeles, 1966.

Parks had little control over the final pictures and captions chosen by Life‘s editors. However, his role as both a writer and photographer allowed him more influence than most. With knowledge gained through experience, Parks carefully crafted a statement in words and pictures that was less vulnerable to the editing process. The largest of only five images published in Life, this photo was like many others in the press at the time, presenting Carmichael as cocky and determined. Yet, the vast majority of Parks’s other images captured him in tender and humanising moments, bringing out the full character of this public figure.

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Crowd at the Watts rally, Will Rogers Park, Los Angeles' 1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Crowd at the Watts rally, Will Rogers Park, Los Angeles
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Untitled, Los Angeles, California' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Untitled, Los Angeles, California
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Carmichael addresses the Watts crowd from a truck bed, Los Angeles 1966

In the essay, Parks quotes Carmichael, “Black Power means black people coming together to form a political force either electing representatives or forcing their representatives to speak their needs. It’s an economic and physical bloc that can exercise its strength in the black community instead of letting the job go to the Democratic or Republican parties or a white-controlled black man set up as a puppet to represent black people. Black Power doesn’t mean anti-white, violence, separatism, or any other racist things the press says it means. It’s saying. ‘Look, buddy, we’re not laying a vote on you unless you lay so many schools, hospitals, playground and jobs on us.'”

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Sanamu Nyeusi (left) and Hasani Soto (right) of the US Organization at the Watts rally, Will Rogers Park, Los Angeles' 1966

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Sanamu Nyeusi (left) and Hasani Soto (right) of the US Organization at the Watts rally, Will Rogers Park, Los Angeles
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Members of civil rights organisations across Southern California came together to present a panel of speakers at the Watts rally in November 1966, culminating in a keynote speech from Stokely Carmichael. Parks was struck by the intensity of those gathered and chose to focus on the energy of the crowd both in his Life essay and in his numerous photographs from the day. In this photograph, members of the cultural nationalist organisation “Us” react to Carmichael’s fiery speech. Their yellow sweatshirts bearing the image of Malcolm X were a reminder to unite in brotherhood.

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael leaving the Watts rally in a Community Alert Patrol car, Los Angeles' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael leaving the Watts rally in a Community Alert Patrol car, Los Angeles
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Parks wrote in his essay, “On the way out [of the Watts rally], groups of boys and girls rushed the car. Stokely waved at them. … ‘People think I’m militant. Wait until those kids grow up! There are young cats around here that make me look like a dove of peace.'”

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael continuing the campaign for voter registration in Lowndes County, Alabama' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael continuing the campaign for voter registration in Lowndes County, Alabama
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Parks shadowed Carmichael as he went door to door to register voters in Lowndes County, marveling at the young activist’s ability to “adjust to any environment,” and noting how Carmichael changed his manner of dress and speech to put his audience at ease. While Carmichael’s tireless efforts recommended him for the role of chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he always felt more suited for community organising. He revealed to Parks that he was “anxious to return” to field work and resigned from leadership in May 1967, just days before Parks’s photo-essay was published in Life.

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Contact sheet of Carmichael in Lowndes County, Alabama' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Contact sheet of Carmichael in Lowndes County, Alabama
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

This contact sheet shows nine of Gordon Parks’s photographs of Stokely Carmichael walking at daybreak through Lowndes County. Each image bears a striking resemblance to the opening photograph of the 1948 Life photo-essay “Country Doctor,” by W. Eugene Smith. In that famous image, Dr. Ernest Ceriani walks through a field at dawn to reach a sick patient. Here, Parks harnessed the temperamental skies, rural setting, and lone figure to intentionally echo Smith’s image. By doing so, Parks cast Carmichael, like the Country Doctor, as a selfless local hero, working for the benefit of others.

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Untitled' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Untitled
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Untitled, Bronx, New York' 1967

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Untitled, Bronx, New York
1967
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Mary Charles Carmichael serving her children Lynette and Stokely at Lynette’s wedding dinner in the Bronx, 1966

Weddings were a frequent subject in Life‘s photographs. Parks knowingly exposed several rolls of film at Carmichael’s sister’s wedding in December 1966. The variety, amount, and quality of the images would have encouraged the editors to add one of the photos to the final printed essay. Parks knew that showing Carmichael as part of this conservative tradition would contradict the popular impression of him as an anarchist and outsider.

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael speaking at a private home, Los Angeles' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael speaking at a private home, Los Angeles
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

In “Whip of Black Power,” Parks wrote, “In the four months that I traveled with him I marvelled at his ability to adjust to any environment. Dressed in overalls, he tramped the backlands of Lowndes County, Alabama, urging Negroes, in a Southern-honey drawl, to register and vote. The next week, wearing a tight dark suit and Italian boots, he was in Harlem lining up ‘cats’ for the cause… A fortnight later, jumping from campuses to intellectual salons, where he was equally damned and lionised, he spoke with eloquence and ease about his cause, quoting Sartre, Camus and Thoreau.”

Label text from the exhibition

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael at a SNCC gathering, Los Angeles' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael at a SNCC gathering, Los Angeles
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

Luminous Exposures: Gordon Parks, Stokely Carmichael, and the Birth of Black Politics

Cedric Johnson

Gordon Parks’s 1967 Life magazine article on Stokely Carmichael, “Whip of Black Power,” still radiates more than a half century since its publication. It is an invaluable artifact of black political life during the sixties, but so much more. In images and words, Parks depicted the warmth and generous spirit of Carmichael, the youthful civil rights activist morphing into celebrity. In hindsight, the essay also effectively captures Carmichael in political twilight, at the height of his political relevance. Parks’s essay portends the triumphs and new social contradictions set in motion by Black Power militancy. Within a few years of Parks’s Life article, Carmichael would go into exile, taking up residence in the Guinean capital of Conakry, and rather than stoking revolution on American soil, the Black Power slogan he popularized would produce broad, unprecedented black political and economic integration into American society.

Stokely Standiford Churchill Carmichael was born on June 29, 1941, in Port of Spain, Trinidad. His early years were spent among a large extended family on the island, and at age eleven he joined his parents in New York City. Carmichael’s father, Adolphus, was a master carpenter who also worked as a taxi driver and at various odd jobs. Carmichael often said his father died of hard work, suffering a heart attack in his forties. Carmichael’s mother, Mabel, a native of Montserrat, supported the family through domestic work and as a passenger ship stewardess. She remained a dominant influence for Carmichael. “This little dynamo of a woman,” he wrote, “was the stable moral presence, the fixed center around which the domestic life of this migrant African family revolved. … We children quickly learned to see her as tireless, omnipresent, and all-seeing, the ever vigilant enforcer of order and family standards, whose displeasure was to be avoided at all costs.”1 Carmichael was, for a time, the sole black member of the Morris Park Dukes, a youth gang in the mostly Jewish and Italian Tremont section of the Bronx, and he was also among the most promising students admitted to the prestigious Bronx High School of Science. Acclaimed science fiction writer and fellow Bronx Science alumnus Samuel R. Delany, who met Carmichael in freshman gym class, recalled him as someone who “had always been quick with banter and repartee with the gym teacher, who’d alternated between enjoying it and being frustrated by it.”2 When the two students once spent detention together, Carmichael held court with the teacher assigned to supervise them and managed to soften him up to the point of laughter. Carmichael’s capacity to win people over with humor and charisma would serve him well when he dove deeper into political life in his twenties.

As a boy in Trinidad, Carmichael had expressed a precocious interest in politics, and his friendship with Gene Dennis, Jr., a classmate at Bronx Science and a red-diaper baby [a child of parents who were members of the United States Communist Party (CPUSA) or were close to the party or sympathetic to its aims], further politicized the young Carmichael, introducing him to the world of the New York left and acquaintances such as socialist and civil rights strategist Bayard Rustin [American, 1912-1987, an African American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights]. Although he was initially skeptical and at times dismissive of desegregation protests, Carmichael was eventually drawn to the gathering southern movement, and after he witnessed the heroism of lunch counter protesters in 1960, as he described it, “something happened to me. Suddenly I was burning.”3 The next year, while a freshman at Howard University, he traveled as a Freedom Rider to Mississippi, where he was arrested and detained at the notorious Parchman Farm prison for forty-nine days [Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a maximum-security prison farm located in unincorporated Sunflower County, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region]. During his time at Howard, Carmichael spent three summers working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”), organizing voter registration drives, and in 1966, after graduating, he became chairman of the organization. Concurrent with his new leadership position, Carmichael’s political development tracked the transition from the southern campaigns against Jim Crow to the increasingly militant protests of late-sixties urban rebellions and anti-Vietnam mobilizations.

In “Whip of Black Power,” Parks summed up Carmichael’s charismatic manner and the new politics of black autonomy and militancy: “Cool, outwardly imperturbable, Stokely gives the impression he would stroll through Dixie in broad daylight using the Confederate flag for a handkerchief.”4 Parks’s images present Carmichael in all his glory. Youthful, confident, hip, and exuberant, Carmichael embodied a new politics of black self-assertion. His words were sharp, witty, and playful, yet deadly serious in their indictment of American racism and imperialism. But Parks also sensed naivete and disingenuous motives in the new black militancy, later writing that many younger activists seemed “obsessed with a hunger for danger.”5

 

The Origins of Black Power

By the time Parks’s photo essay was published in Life, Carmichael was widely seen as the progenitor of Black Power. The slogan had emerged from the ranks of SNCC activists, propelled in part by longer-standing, simmering tensions over strategy and tactics, interracialism, and the promise of liberal democracy, which sharpened as the movement produced historic victories in the form of national civil rights legislation. Even in the aftermath of historic reform, white vigilante retaliation against the southern movement tested the resolve of SNCC cadre, with some increasingly embracing black political autonomy and armed self-defense, in stark contrast to the interracialist and nonviolent commitments of the organization’s founding.

After the March 1965 murder of Viola Liuzzo, a white NAACP member who had traveled from Michigan to join the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, SNCC activists began organizing in Lowndes County, Alabama. At the time, the county was 86 percent black but had no black registered voters, reflecting the pervasive disfranchisement through the cotton counties of the Black Belt on the eve of the Voting Rights Act. Carmichael and other SNCC activists formed the Lowndes County Freedom Organization to register voters and elect the area’s first black political candidates. Members adopted the image of a pouncing black panther as the organization’s logo.6 One of the more striking pictures in Parks’s 1967 article is of Carmichael staring plaintively on a gravel road in Lowndes, smartly dressed, his hands in his back pockets, his sweatshirt emblazoned with the panther symbol.

Carmichael came to head SNCC through a contentious process. In early 1966, John Lewis, a soft-spoken Alabama native, was reelected as chairman, but at the end of a late-night meeting and after many staff members had gone home, Lewis’s election was overturned by the remaining attendees, and Carmichael was installed. As historian Clayborne Carson and others have noted, Carmichael made a choice in the ensuing months between, on one hand, continuing the grounded political work SNCC had conducted in places like Lowndes, and on the other, “becoming preoccupied with rhetorical appeals for the unification of black people on the basis of separatist ideals.”7 This development would be tragic for SNCC, which, along with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), proceeded to expel white members. Carmichael and some SNCC members embraced more militant posturing and drifted further away from the local organizing campaigns that had won real victories for black southerners, and what resulted was the precipitous decline and political irrelevance of the organization.

Some SNCC members used the slogan “Black Power for Black People” during the Alabama voting rights campaigns of 1965. In Harlem, leaders including Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and tenant organizer Jesse Gray had also used the phrase “Black Power,” as had Richard Wright, who published a travelogue of his time in newly independent Ghana with that title.8 It was SNCC activist Willie Ricks, however, who began using the phrase in speeches throughout the South, often asking from the podium, “What do you want?” to audiences, who shouted back, “Black Power!”

The slogan reached national consciousness amid the 1966 Meredith March Against Fear. In June 1966, James Meredith, who had integrated the University of Mississippi, set out on a lone march from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, through the staunchly segregationist Delta counties. He was shot in ambush on the second day of his journey and had to be hospitalized. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as the younger, more militant CORE and SNCC, decided to continue the march on Meredith’s behalf. During an overnight stop in Greenwood, Mississippi, Carmichael used the chant Ricks had developed, sparking excitement from the crowd, consternation from the civil rights establishment, and hysteria from the white press. In the wake of the Meredith March, Black Power militancy reoriented black political life, igniting public debate, new mobilizations and local campaigns, and heightened scrutiny of the established leadership, strategies, and goals that had defined the postwar civil rights movement.

The demand for Black Power, intended to build real power for the most dispossessed working-class denizens of black southern towns and northern ghettos, had many unintended consequences. Black poverty would be cut in half in the years after major civil rights reforms, and the ranks of the black middle class would expand greatly through antipoverty measures, access to higher education, and public employment, but real, meaningful self-determination for those trapped at the bottom of the nation’s socioeconomic ladder would remain elusive.

 

Seeing Black Political Life with Gordon Parks

Representation of the growing Black Power movement in the popular press was key to both its successes and its failures. Although Parks was among several photographers whose images of the movement throughout its evolution influenced its perception, his position as a black photographer working for a publication targeted at a predominantly white audience placed him in a unique position. He was among America’s greatest twentieth-century intellectuals, a designation denied to him by the yoke of Jim Crow that dominated that century. As a photographer – through his studies of crime and gang violence to his profiles of black nationalism – Parks illuminated the diversity and richness of black life while also exposing the absurd, systemic injustice that defined the United States. Alongside his photographs, Parks’s writing encourages us to see the complexity of black life, which though demeaned by white racist institutions and behaviors is not reducible to some uniform Black experience. Rather, his own political perspective, which is decidedly more liberal than the black political figures he chose as subjects, is a testament to the diverse strivings, political positions, and discrete prerogatives that have defined black political life during and after Jim Crow. His voice, especially in the context of his work on black nationalism, adds a critical-sympathetic view of this political alternative to the postwar civil rights movement.

In his writings on black nationalism – ranging from his 1963 Life article on the Nation of Islam, “‘What Their Cry Means to Me,'” to his 1967 essay on Carmichael – we find Parks, like many black people at the time, cautious, curious, and not always in full agreement, but certainly inspired by the example of these black nationalist figures and movements. As Parks said of Malcolm X in the wake of his murder, “He was brilliant, ambitious and honest. And he was fearless. He said what most of us black folk were afraid to say publicly.”9 In many ways, Parks’s politics were undoubtedly closer to those of the vast majority of black people living through the end of Jim Crow. His commitment to work for a mainstream magazine was criticized by his black peers, at a time when many were touting black cultural autonomy and the formation of separate institutions. His choice to use the Life magazine platform reflected the liberal democratic spirit of the civil rights movement and prefigured the unprecedented integration of black actors, writers, musicians, and producers into the culture industry in the closing decades of the twentieth century.

Parks’s work remains sympathetic to black nationalism, however, in as much as he provides an antidote to the slander, fear mongering, and “black domination” narratives that defined mainstream press coverage, such as The Hate That Hate Produced, the 1959 CBS documentary co-produced by Mike Wallace and black journalist Louis Lomax. Parks’s photographs and essays during the sixties reflect the optimism and surging sense of political efficacy coursing through black life at the time, as well as lurking social and political contradictions.

In his exchanges with Carmichael, we find Parks reflective and at times skeptical. In an especially poignant, self-effacing conclusion to his 1967 “Whip of Black Power” article, Parks momentarily compares Carmichael’s position on the Vietnam War to that of his own son, David, who was serving as an Army tank gunner. Carmichael had expressed the increasingly popular view in black communities that Vietnam was not their war. “Our stake will come from the struggle against white supremacy here at home,” Carmichael said. “I’d rather die fighting here tomorrow than live 20 years fighting over there. Why should I go help the white man kill other dark people while he’s still killing us here at home?”10 Parks’s son David had been awarded the Purple Heart medal for bravery in combat, but in the face of Carmichael’s sharp criticism, Parks now “wondered which boy was giving himself to a better cause.”11 “There was no immediate answer,” he concluded. “But in the face of death, which was so possible for both of them, I think Stokely would surely be more certain of why he was about to die.”12

 

The Meaning of Black Power

The same year “Whip of Black Power” was published, Carmichael and political scientist Charles V. Hamilton published Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America, an attempt to operationalize the political slogan. They rejected reactionary claims that Black Power meant “racism in reverse” and “black supremacy.” Although Carmichael’s public rhetoric constantly evoked a coming revolution, the actual definition of Black Power he and Hamilton provided was something tamer, the pursuit of black empowerment in the mold of urban ethnic politics. “The goal of black self-determination and black self-identity – Black Power,” Carmichael and Hamilton wrote, “is full participation in the decision-making processes affecting the lives of black people, and recognition of the virtues in themselves as black people.” Black Power, they continue, meant that “in Lowndes County, Alabama, a black sheriff can end police brutality. A black tax assessor and tax collector and county board of revenue can lay, collect, and channel tax monies for the building of better roads and schools serving black people.”13

National legislation and demographic changes made the pursuit of this black ethnic politics touted by Carmichael and Hamilton possible in various locales from northern urban centers to the majority-black rural counties of the southern Black Belt. The Black Power slogan emerged from the internal debates over strategy and organizing approaches within SNCC as members sought to empower black southerners who had endured a long winter of disfranchisement and dispossession. The national popularity of Black Power, however, was propelled by the political possibilities created by the victories of the Second Reconstruction, the restoration of black suffrage rights and passage of anti-discrimination and antipoverty legislation under the Johnson administration. In terms of urban investments, the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act and, later, the Model Cities program channeled federal grants to local jurisdictions, and these policy initiatives had the longer-term effect of cultivating and empowering a post-segregation generation of black urban political leadership.14 In addition, the demography of many American cities was changing rapidly due to suburbanization, and as whites vacated old-ethnic enclaves in the urban core, many cities became majority or near-majority black.

Black Power as employed by Carmichael and Hamilton advanced two political myths that remain prevalent and dangerous into our own times – that interracial coalitions are ineffective and doomed to failure, and that black unity is a necessary part of black political life. Both notions are predicated on the false assumption that political interests are synonymous with racial affinity. Surely, practical black solidarity was central to the local boycotts, lunch counter sit-ins, and other demonstrations that would defeat Jim Crow, but the political triumphs of the postwar civil rights movement were always interracial in composition, with Americans of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and classes contributing to the movement as donors, volunteers, legal counsel, activists, trainers, participants, lobbyists, legislators, and supporters. And both of those anti-interracialist notions run counter to the basic majoritarian premise of liberal democratic society, where broad coalitions and mass pressure have been fundamental to whatever real social justice has ever been accomplished in the United States.

While Carmichael would leave the United States for West Africa and become the leading spokesperson for the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party after the death of its founder, deposed Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah, many of his SNCC comrades would enter institutional politics in the United States. John Lewis would go on to become a long-serving congressman from Georgia, Eleanor Holmes Norton was the District of Columbia’s nonvoting delegate in Congress, and Marion Barry would win multiple terms as a city councilman and as Washington, D.C.’s first elected black mayor. Other SNCC veterans would play important roles as campaign organizers and politicos, with many former SNCC members migrating to the nation’s capital in the seventies. In contrast, Carmichael for the rest of his life would remain a political outsider and an evangelist for anticapitalist revolution and Pan-African unity, even after many of the Third World left regimes that inspired such politics had long collapsed into dictatorship, civil war, and underdevelopment.

 

Waiting for Revolution

Parks’s 1967 photographs and text convey the impressive stamina of Carmichael and his movement comrades, and equally, the tremendous physical and psychological toll of their work. “In the four months that I traveled with him,” Parks recalled of Carmichael, “I marveled at his ability to adjust to any environment.”15 Carmichael was chameleon-like, shifting in ways to effectively connect and communicate with his audience: “Dressed in bib overalls, he tramped the backlands of Lowndes County, Alabama, urging Negroes, in a Southern-honey drawl, to register and vote. The next week, wearing a tight dark suit and Italian boots, he was in Harlem lining up ‘cats’ for the cause, using the language they dig most – hip and very cool. A fortnight later, jumping from campuses to intellectual salons, where he was equally damned and lionized, he spoke with eloquence and ease about his cause, quoting Sartre, Camus and Thoreau.”16

The Life magazine article depicts Carmichael in a moment when he is moving quickly from grounded political organizing within a powerful social movement to becoming an enduring symbol of black radicalism, though sadly lacking any real constituency. Mass media played a powerful role in amplifying, influencing, and, in part, undoing the black movements of the fifties and sixties. In the wake of Emmett Till’s murder in Money, Mississippi, in 1955, black journalists were crucial in building opposition to Jim Crow after the teen’s mother, Mamie Till, decided to hold an open-casket funeral so everyone could see what racist vigilantes had done to her son. Throughout the southern campaigns, television broadcasts and the images of well-dressed black marchers being bludgeoned by white police and attacked with dogs and firehoses helped shift public sentiment against the perpetuation of Jim Crow. And yet the same media coverage bore negative consequences, contributing to processes of leadership certification that proved divisive, antidemocratic, and careerist, by too often elevating more telegenic personalities, breeding internal tensions, and shifting priorities away from the grounded politics that had been so central to the movement’s successes.17 Parks clearly sought to cast a different light on Carmichael against the popular white anxieties conjured by the Black Power slogan.

The broader machinery of publicity, however, took its toll on Carmichael and the internal lives of movement organizations, heightening rivalries and fueling overinflated rhetoric and posturing that ran counter to building effective political power – the goal of any movement worthy of the name. Parks’s article captures some of these sharpening tensions within the nascent Black Power movement, when he discusses the friction between the US Organization and other black political formations in Los Angeles over providing security for Carmichael during his visit. The FBI and local police would aggravate existing cleavages within and between black groups like US and the Black Panther Party, instigating and inflaming conflicts that would ultimately destroy lives, optimism, and political momentum.

Carmichael spent the decades after the sixties touring the world and lecturing at universities and in community centers, unwavering in his commitment to revolutionary Pan-Africanism [a worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all Indigenous and diaspora peoples of African ancestry]. I had a chance to meet him briefly during one of those stateside tours, in the fall of 1989, when I was a first-year student at Southern University-Baton Rouge, at the time the largest historically black college in the United States. Carmichael delivered an afternoon talk in Stewart Hall, which then housed the Junior Division, essentially a community college within the university that repaired the damage wrought by poorly funded public schools whence many of our students hailed. His Afro and goatee were graying, but his wide grin, quick wit, and gregarious manner recalled the youthful activist, his slim mod suit now replaced with a brocade dashiki. Since his exile, he had taken the name Kwame Ture, an homage to the anti-colonial revolutionaries Kwame Nkrumah and Sékou Touré. The room was only about half full, but that didn’t dissipate Carmichael’s energy. We matched his enthusiasm, laughing and shouting at various turns. Carmichael was in vogue again for our cohort, the sons and daughters of the civil rights generation now suffering the waning years of the Reagan-Bush administration. We were living through a prolonged period of urban implosion, the social chaos of the crack cocaine crisis, rising gun violence, and the ramped-up policing and imprisonment of black men – what we would later come to know as mass incarceration. We were drawn to the rhetorical style of Carmichael, Malcolm X, and the Panthers and the criticisms they leveled against white supremacy and the goal of racial integration still promoted by the old civil rights vanguard. Carmichael’s criticisms of capitalism resonated with us in a town where the smokestacks of petrochemical refineries dominated the skyline, their stench filling the North Baton Rouge air day and night. After the talk, I stood around with a handful of other students engaging Carmichael. He seemed to take all our questions, however errant they might have been, with seriousness. He didn’t appear bored or impatient, and he tarried with us for some time.

In his memoir Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama characterized Carmichael in disparaging terms after a similar collegiate encounter with him – “his eyes glowed inward as he spoke, the eyes of a madman or a saint.”18 As he ascended to national leadership, Obama often disassociated from black radicalism and socialist politics. Recall how he publicly rejected his one time pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the man who officiated at his wedding, once that association became a political liability on the campaign trail. It is not surprising that Carmichael’s damning criticism of American hypocrisy and empire rattled the young Obama. For those of us confined to underfunded and failing urban school districts and equally maligned black colleges, and angered by the bipartisan decimation of the welfare state, Carmichael’s words were like manna, affirming our sense that we were not failures, but that the society itself had failed to live up to its most basic promises.

Carmichael was neither madman nor saint. Since 1969 he was something more tragic – a revolutionary without a revolution. His decades-long exile estranged him from the very political constituencies responsible for his fame, and the world itself had changed dramatically in the same period. The defeat and collapse of socialist and progressive- left postcolonial regimes across Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia, the end of the Cold War, and limited but very real cultural and political changes hewn by the Second Reconstruction in the United States rendered his calls for revolutionary Pan-Africanism simultaneously alluring, overly nostalgic, and tragically out of step with the world we lived in. His criticisms still echoed loudly in the lecture hall but did not offer black laboring classes grappling with day-to-day existence under austerity and resurgent capitalist class power any legitimate, workable political alternative. What was needed then and now wasn’t so much the correct ideological line, a favorite diversion of the American left for decades, but rather a politics that returned to the beginning, to places like Lowndes County, where Carmichael once went house to house, patiently conversing with black sharecroppers about their needs and hopes, gaining their trust, and, in careful and protracted collaboration, building effective popular power.

Carmichael’s longtime friend Michael Thelwell, a SNCC veteran and novelist, provides a touching elegy, reminding us how even as his body was ravaged by cancer, Carmichael’s spirit burned ever brighter. In the waning days of his illness, after he had returned to Guinea for the last time, Carmichael was met with a steady stream of visitors, “humble folk and dignitaries alike,” Thelwell recalled.19 One such group included Mozambican amputees who had traveled to Conakry, prompting Thelwell to ask: What motive “could have brought simple farmers and old soldiers so great a distance?” They were, he came to understand, propelled by a deep sense of gratitude. When Carmichael learned of the horrible consequences of war and land mines wrought on these men and their communities, he appealed to the Cuban embassy, which responded with a supply of prosthetics.

Carmichael stands alongside King, Rustin, Liuzzo, Ella Baker, James Forman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, E. D. Nixon, and a broad pantheon of activists, martyrs, and forgotten figures who defeated Jim Crow and ushered unprecedented black political progress. Parks’s images and impressions of Carmichael should remind us of his historical significance, his limitations, virtues, and sacrifices, and the decisive role that mass political pressure has played in making concrete progressive advances in American society. And what role popular social movements must play again if we want to build on this progress and effectively abolish the myriad injustices in our midst.

Cedric Johnson. “Luminous Exposures: Gordon Parks, Stokely Carmichael, and the Birth of Black Politics,” in Volpe, Lisa. Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power. Steidl / The Gordon Parks Foundation / The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2022, p. 28-34

 

Footnotes

  1. Stokely Carmichael with Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) (New York: Scribner, 2005), 49.
  2. Samuel R. Delany, The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 85.
  3. Gordon Parks, “Whip of Black Power,” Life, May 19, 1967, 80.
  4. Parks, “Whip of Black Power,” 78.
  5. Gordon Parks, Voices in the Mirror: An Autobiography (New York: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 1990), 238.
  6. Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt (New York: New York University, 2009).
  7. Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1981), 206.
  8. Richard Wright, Black Power: A Record of Reactions in a Land of Pathos (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954).
  9. Gordon Parks, “‘I Was a Zombie Then – Like All Muslims, I Was Hypnotized,'” Life, March 5, 1965, 30.
  10. Parks, “Whip of Black Power,” 82.
  11. Parks, “Whip of Black Power,” 82.
  12. Parks, “Whip of Black Power,” 82.
  13. Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton, Black Power: The Politics of Black Liberation in America (New York: Vintage Books, 1992 [1967]), 47.
  14. Kent B. Germany, New Orleans After the Promises: Poverty, Citizenship and the Search for the Great Society (Atlanta: University of Georgia, 2007); Adolph Reed, Jr., Stirrings in the Jug: Black Politics in the Post-segregation Era (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999).
  15. Parks, “Whip of Black Power,” 78.
  16. Parks, “Whip of Black Power,” 78.
  17. Todd Gitlin, The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making and Unmaking of the New Left (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980).
  18. Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (New York: Crown, 2004), 140.
  19. Carmichael with Thelwell, Ready for Revolution, 783.

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael before an appearance on KTTV, Los Angeles' 1966, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael before an appearance on KTTV, Los Angeles
1966, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam poster with photograph by Maury Englander 1967

 

National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam poster with photograph by Maury Englander
1967

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Martin Luther King, Jr., at Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, New York City' 1967, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Martin Luther King, Jr., at Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, New York City
1967, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Carmichael speaking at Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, New York City' 1967, printed 2022

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Carmichael speaking at Spring Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam, New York City
1967, printed 2022
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

"Whip of Black Power," Life Magazine Photographs and Text by Gordon Parks

"Whip of Black Power," Life Magazine Photographs and Text by Gordon Parks

 

“Whip of Black Power,” Life Magazine
Photographs and Text by Gordon Parks
Introduction by Life Editors, May 19, 1967

 

 

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09
Jan
23

Exhibition: ‘Life Magazine and the Power of Photography’ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA)

Exhibition dates: 9th October 2022 – 16th January 2023

Curators: Kristen Gresh, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs at the MFA; Katherine A. Bussard, Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography at Princeton University Art Museum; and Alissa Schapiro, an independent curator and doctoral candidate in art history at Northwestern University

 

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'Flame Burner Ann Zarik' 1943, printed about 2000

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
Flame Burner Ann Zarik
1943, printed about 2000
Gelatin silver print
Princeton University Art Museum
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

Continuing the illustrated magazine theme from the last Bill Brandt post, here presented are images, cover and photo essay by major photographers such as Robert Capa, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke‑White, Henri Cartier‑Bresson and Gordon Parks which appeared in the influential American magazine Life (1926-1972).

“This exhibition takes a closer look at the creation and impact of the carefully selected images found in the pages of Life – and the precisely crafted narratives told through these pictures – in order to reveal how the magazine shaped conversations about war, race, technology, national identity, and more in the 20th-century United States. The photographs on view capture some of the defining moments – celebratory and traumatic alike – of the last century, from the Birmingham civil rights demonstrations to the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Far from simply nostalgic and laudatory, the exhibition critically reconsiders Life‘s complex, and sometimes contradictory, approach to such stories through works by photographers from different backgrounds and perspectives who captured difficult images of ethnic discrimination and racialised violence, from the Holocaust to white supremacist terror of the 1960s.” (Exhibition text)

Of particular interest in the posting is the contact sheet to Eisenstaedt’s famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations (1945, below) … in order to note how the artist chose that particular negative out of the four (good exposure, less confusing background to the central characters); how he marked the contact sheet with the usual red pencil that black and white photographers use to indicate his negative preference and the cropping of the image that was required (notice the arrow at bottom left, a crop which was not heeded in the final print); and how the final print is much darker than the contact sheet (notice the dark pavement and lack of detail in the sailors outfits).

In the final print the negative has been cropped up from the bottom to tension the lifting of the nurse’s raised leg as it floats above the ground (here, the distance from the bottom of the shoe to the bottom of the image is critical in order to make the shoe “float”), the man at right now makes half an appearance, and the man at far left has been included and “burnt in” under the enlarger so that he recedes from and does not detract from the importance of the figures in the foreground. The background figures form a triangle behind the sailor and the nurse, forming a stage for them, and a supporting and encircling cast of characters. The vanishing point of the image and the buildings does the rest.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'Mrs. Nelson and her two children outside her laundry which she operates without running water' 1936

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
Mrs. Nelson and her two children outside her laundry which she operates without running water
1936
Gelatin silver print
The Howard Greenberg Collection – Museum purchase with funds donated by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'At the Time of the Louisville Flood' 1937

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
At the Time of the Louisville Flood
1937
Gelatin silver print
The Howard Greenberg Collection – Museum purchase with funds donated by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'Fort Peck Dam, Montana' 1936

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
Fort Peck Dam, Montana
1936
Gelatin silver print
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

'Life', November 23, 1936 (Cover photograph by Margaret Bourke-White) 1936

 

Life Magazine (1883-1972)
Life, November 23, 1936 (Cover photograph by Margaret Bourke-White)
1936
Illustrated periodical
Life Picture Collection
Photo by Life Magazine
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

In the period from the Great Depression to the Vietnam War, the majority of photographs printed and consumed in the U.S. appeared on the pages of illustrated magazines. Among them, Life – published weekly from 1936 to 1972 – was both extraordinarily popular and visually revolutionary. Estimates for pass-along readership – the number of people who shared each copy of Life in spaces like waiting rooms and offices – suggest that the magazine may have regularly reached about one in four people in the country. The photographers who worked for Life bore witness to some of the most defining moments of the 20th century – and the magazine’s use of photography shaped the way many Americans experienced, perceived and remembered these events. Co-organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and the Princeton University Art Museum, Life Magazine and the Power of Photography offers a revealing look at the collaborative processes behind many of the publication’s most recognisable, beloved and controversial images and photo essays. The exhibition brings together more than 180 objects, including original press prints, contact sheets, shooting scripts, internal memos and layout experiments – drawing on unprecedented access to Life‘s picture and paper archives. Added to the exhibition for its presentation at the MFA, Life Magazine and the Power of Photography also incorporates works by contemporary artists Alexandra Bell, Alfredo Jaar and Julia Wachtel, whose critical reflections on photojournalism and the politics of images frame urgent conversations about implicit biases and systemic racism in contemporary media.

Life Magazine and the Power of Photography is on view at the MFA from October 9, 2022 through January 16, 2023 in the Ann and Graham Gund Gallery. Member Preview takes place October 5-8. Timed-entry exhibition tickets, which include general admission, are required for all visitors and can be reserved on mfa.org starting September 14 for MFA members and September 20 for the general public.

Life Magazine and the Power of Photography is sponsored by Bank of America. Generously supported by Patti and Jonathan Kraft, with additional support from Kate Moran Collins and Emi M. and William G. Winterer. With gratitude to the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust for its generous support of Photography at the MFA. The exhibition is co-organised by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Princeton University Art Museum.

“This major exhibition is an invitation for our visitors to experience a time when photographs first began to influence world events and narratives – and how they continue to do so today,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director. “Life‘s groundbreaking use of photography shaped important 20th-century dialogues in the U.S. around war, race, technology, art and national identity. Through a generous collaboration with the Princeton University Art Museum, we are exploring this process in a more critical and complex way than ever done before, and at a moment when technologies of distribution have evolved and disrupted the recording of history.”

Life Magazine and the Power of Photography was curated by Kristen Gresh, Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs at the MFA; Katherine A. Bussard, Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography at Princeton University Art Museum; and Alissa Schapiro, an independent curator and doctoral candidate in art history at Northwestern University. In 2016 the curators were among the first to delve deeply into the Time Inc. Records Archive, which was newly available at the New-York Historical Society. In 2019, the MFA and Princeton University Art Museum became the first museums to be granted full access to the LIFE Picture Collection, the magazine’s photographic archive. (The exhibition debuted at Princeton in February 2020, but closed after three weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.). The exhibition and the accompanying book grew out of these unparalleled research opportunities, which helped to advance new scholarly perspectives on Life’s pictorial journalism. The book was named the 2021 recipient of the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for museum scholarship.

“I am thrilled to be adding three contemporary moments to the exhibition in Boston. Through powerful and provocative works by Alexandra Bell, Alfredo Jaar and Julia Wachtel, who each interrogate news media through their practice, viewers are invited to reflect on contemporary media consumption and our inherited historical narratives,” said Gresh.

 

Exhibition Overview

Among the over 30 photographers featured in Life Magazine and the Power of Photography are Margaret Bourke-White, Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Frank Dandridge, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Charles Moore, Gordon Parks and W. Eugene Smith. The exhibition also emphasises the contributions of women to the magazine’s success – not only photographers such as Bourke-White, whose monumental image of the Fort Peck Dam graced the first issue, but also negative and picture editors such as Peggy Sargent and Natalie Kosek. Additionally, Life Magazine and the Power of Photography considers the ways in which the magazine – through the vision of its founder, Henry R. Luce, its editorial teams’ points of view and the demographics of its readers – promoted a predominantly white, middle-class perspective on politics, daily life and culture, even when documenting the country’s reckoning with racism and xenophobia. The exhibition makes a point to trace Life‘s complex, and sometimes contradictory, approach to such stories through the inclusion of works by photographers from different backgrounds and perspectives that captured difficult images of ethnic discrimination and racialised violence, ranging from the Holocaust to white supremacist violence of the 1960s.

The exhibition is divided into three historical sections, interspersed with immersive contemporary moments. The first section, “Getting the Picture,” focuses on the creation of Life photographs, exploring multiple factors such as the details of the assignment, the idea for the story developed by the editorial staff, the selection of a particular photographer for the job, and the photographer’s own decisions about how to best capture the images needed to construct a story. Once a photographer completed an assignment, his or her undeveloped rolls of film and notes were sent to Life‘s offices, where editorial teams selected images and determined how to adapt them for the printed page. The second section, “Crafting Photo Stories,” examines the making of a photo-essay, a format with stunning visuals and minimal text that Life claimed to have invented. The complex process involved negative editors, picture editors, art directors, layout artists, writers, researchers and fact-checkers in the construction of each page. The third section, “Life‘s Photographic Impact,” considers the power and reach of the magazine, whose circulation peaked at 8.5 million in 1969. Here, the exhibition explores not only responses from readers – who wrote letters to the editor and even offered assistance to individuals profiled in the magazine – but also how Life perpetuated its own influence by repackaging its photographs and using technical sophistication and business savvy to outpace its competitors.

Contemporary works by Alfredo Jaar (born Santiago, Chile, 1956), Alexandra Bell (born 1983) and Julia Wachtel (1956) appear in immersive moments installed between the three historical sections. Jaar questions the ethics of representation and the politics of images in his photography, installations, films and new media works. The exhibition features Real Pictures (1995) from his Rwanda Project and the U.S. debut of his multimedia installation The Silence of Nduwayezu (1997) from the same series. It also includes the triptych Life Magazine, April 19, 1968 (1995), in which he manipulates the magazine’s iconic photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral procession to point to the disproportionate number of Black mourners relative to white ones. Similarly, works from Bell’s Counternarratives series (2017-2018) highlight racial biases in annotated pages from The New York Times. Finally, in a newly commissioned work by the MFA, Wachtel directly responds to photographs from Life and engages in deep critical discourse about popular culture and politics, as well as media consumption.

 

Publication

The accompanying 336-page book, published by the Princeton University Art Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, examines Life‘s groundbreaking role in mid-20th-century American culture and the history of photography by considering the complexity of the magazine’s image-making and publishing enterprise. The book includes essays and contributions by the three co-curators and 22 additional scholars of art history, American studies, history and communication studies. It was the winner of the College Art Association’s 2021 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award, praised for “bring[ing] a new complexity to Life‘s legendary picture-making enterprise and suggest[ing] why Life‘s signal role in fostering consensus and collective memory is ripe for further unpacking.”

Press release from the Museum of Fine Arts , Boston

 

Gjon Mili (American born in Albania, 1904-1984) 'Stroboscopic image of intercollegiate champion gymnast Newt Loken doing floor leaps' 1942

 

Gjon Mili (American born in Albania, 1904-1984)
Stroboscopic image of intercollegiate champion gymnast Newt Loken doing floor leaps
1942
Gelatin silver print
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971) 'Blast furnace cleaner Bernice Daunora, part of the top gang at Carnegie‑Illinois Steel Corp., wearing protective breathing apparatus fr. escaping gas fumes' 1943

 

Margaret Bourke‑White (American, 1904-1971)
Blast furnace cleaner Bernice Daunora, part of the top gang at Carnegie‑Illinois Steel Corp., wearing protective breathing apparatus fr. escaping gas fumes
1943
Gelatin silver print
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Robert Capa (American born in Hungary, 1913-1954) 'Normandy Invasion on D‑Day, Soldier Advancing through Surf' 1944

 

Robert Capa (American born in Hungary, 1913-1954)
Normandy Invasion on D‑Day, Soldier Advancing through Surf
1944
Gelatin silver print
The Howard Greenberg Collection – Museum purchase with funds donated by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust
© International Center of Photography / Magnum Photos
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Carl Mydans (American, 1907-2004) '(Young man playing guitar in the stockade, Tule Lake Internment Camp, Newell, California)' 1944

 

Carl Mydans (American, 1907-2004)
(Young man playing guitar in the stockade, Tule Lake Internment Camp, Newell, California)
1944
Gelatin silver print
International Center of Photography, the LIFE Magazine Collection, 2005
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995) 'Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations' 1945

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995)
Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations
1945
Gelatin silver print, contact sheet
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995) 'Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations' 1945 (detail)

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995)
Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations (detail)
1945
Gelatin silver print, contact sheet
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995) 'Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt's famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations' 1945 (detail)

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995)
Contact sheet w. frames from photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famed set of the sailor kissing the nurse and other images of the Times Square VJ‑Day celebrations (detail)
1945
Gelatin silver print, contact sheet
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995) 'VJ Day in Times Square' 1945

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt (German active in the United States, 1898-1995)
VJ Day in Times Square
1945
Gelatin silver print
Alan and Susan Solomont
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

Reconsidering the pictures we remember. Revealing the stories we don’t know.

From the Great Depression to the Vietnam War, almost all of the photographs printed for consumption by the American public appeared in illustrated magazines. Among them, Life magazine – published weekly from 1936 to 1972 – was both wildly popular and visually revolutionary, with photographs arranged in groundbreaking dramatic layouts known as photo-essays. This exhibition takes a closer look at the creation and impact of the carefully selected images found in the pages of Life – and the precisely crafted narratives told through these pictures – in order to reveal how the magazine shaped conversations about war, race, technology, national identity, and more in the 20th-century United States. The photographs on view capture some of the defining moments – celebratory and traumatic alike – of the last century, from the Birmingham civil rights demonstrations to the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Far from simply nostalgic and laudatory, the exhibition critically reconsiders Life‘s complex, and sometimes contradictory, approach to such stories through works by photographers from different backgrounds and perspectives who captured difficult images of ethnic discrimination and racialised violence, from the Holocaust to white supremacist terror of the 1960s.

Drawing on unprecedented access to Life magazine’s picture and paper archives as well as photographers’ archives, the exhibition brings together more than 180 objects, including vintage photographs, contact sheets, assignment outlines, internal memos, and layout experiments. Visitors can trace the construction of a Life photo-essay from assignment through to the creative and editorial process of shaping images into a compelling story. This focus departs from the historic fascination with the singular photographic genius and instead celebrates the collaborative efforts behind many now-iconic images and stories. Particular attention is given to the women staff members of Life, whose roles remained forgotten or overshadowed by the traditional emphasis on men at the magazine. Most photographs on view are original working press prints – made to be used in the magazine’s production – and represent the wide range of photographers who worked for Life, such as Margaret Bourke-White, Larry Burrows, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Frank Dandridge, Gordon Parks, and W. Eugene Smith.

Interspersed throughout the exhibition, three immersive contemporary “moments” feature works by artists active today who interrogate news media through their practice. A multimedia installation by Alfredo Jaar, screen prints by Alexandra Bell, and a new commission by Julia Wachtel frame larger conversations for visitors about implicit biases and systemic racism in contemporary media.

Life Magazine and the Power of Photography offers a revealing look at the collaborative processes behind many of Life‘s most recognisable, beloved, and controversial images and photo-essays, while incorporating the voices of contemporary artists and their critical reflections on photojournalism.

The exhibition is accompanied by a multi-authored catalogue, winner of the College Art Association’s 2021 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award.

Text from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006) 'Red Jackson, Harlem, New York' 1948

 

Gordon Parks (American, 1912-2006)
Red Jackson, Harlem, New York
1948
Gelatin silver print
Princeton University Art Museum
Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Life Magazine (1883-1972) '[Harlem Gang Leader opening spread]' 1948

 

Life Magazine (1883-1972)
[Harlem Gang Leader opening spread]
1948
From LIFE Magazine, November 1, 1948, pages 96-97
Illustrated periodical
Princeton University Art Museum
Photograph by Gordon Parks. Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation
Text © 1948 LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Henri Cartier‑Bresson (French, 1908-2004) 'Untitled (Peiping)' 1948

 

Henri Cartier‑Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
Untitled (Peiping)
1948
Gelatin silver print
Life Picture Collection
© Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Jay Eyerman (American, 1906-1985) '3-D Movie Contact Sheet' 1952

 

Jay Eyerman (American, 1906-1985)
3-D Movie Contact Sheet
1952
Gelatin silver print, contact sheet
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Jay Eyerman (American, 1906-1985) 'Audience watches movie wearing 3‑D spectacles' 1952

 

Jay Eyerman (American, 1906-1985)
Audience watches movie wearing 3‑D spectacles
1952
Gelatin silver print
The Howard Greenberg Collection – Museum purchase with funds donated by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust
© LIFE Picture Collection
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Fritz Goro (American born in Germany, 1901-1986) 'Red laser light focused through a lens blasts a pin‑point hole through a razor blade in a thousandth of a second' 1962

 

Fritz Goro (American born in Germany, 1901-1986)
Red laser light focused through a lens blasts a pin‑point hole through a razor blade in a thousandth of a second
1962
Photograph, colour transparency
Life Picture Collection
© LIFE Picture Collection.
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 'Vintage NASA Photograph of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing' 1969

 

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Vintage NASA Photograph of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing
1969
Photograph, chromogenic print
Abbott Lawrence Fund
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956) 'Life Magazine, April 19, 1968' 1995

 

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956)
Life Magazine, April 19, 1968
1995
Suite of three pigment prints on Innova paper
© Alfredo Jaar
Courtesy Alfredo Jaar and Galerie Lelong & Co., New York
Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956) 'The Silence of Nduwayezu' 1997

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956) 'The Silence of Nduwayezu' 1997

 

Alfredo Jaar (Chilean living New York, b. 1956)
The Silence of Nduwayezu
1997
One million slides, light table, magnifiers, illuminated wall text
78 7/10 × 118 1/10 in. (200 × 300cm)

 

 

One million slides featuring eyes in close-up of boy who witnessed murder of his parents.

“In 1994, in the face of what he described as “the criminal, barbaric indifference of the so-called world community”, Jaar travelled to Rwanda to witness the horrific aftermath of one of history’s most violent conflicts. Three months prior, an estimated one million Rwandans had been systematically killed during one hundred days of civil unrest. The artist dedicated six years to this project in which he seeks to bring attention to personal stories to pay tribute to the victims of the genocide.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is an installation titled The Silence of Nduwayezu, which comprises one million slides featuring a pair of eyes in close-up. The eyes belong to Nduwayezu, a five year old Tutsi boy who Jaar met at a refugee camp in Rubavu. Like many Rwandan children, Nduwayezu had witnessed the killing of his own parents, a trauma so deep it affected his ability to speak.

“The installation tangibly represents the steadily escalating number of Tutsis killed in the massacre by showing one million identical slides of Nduwayezu’s eyes piled high on a giant light table. […] By borrowing Nduwayezu’s eyes and making them stare at us as if we were gazing in a mirror, Jaar reminds us of the silence of the international community – the absence of images – that exacerbated the calamity and consequences experienced by the people of Rwanda. […] The Silence of Nduwayezu fills the information void left by the silence of the international community, yet at the same time, it is also a meditative gesture, casting doubt on the ability of photographs to ever relay the enormity of raw human experience, or to make it part of the viewer’s world.”

Anonymous text. “Alfredo Jaar: 25 Years Later,” on the Goodman Gallery website January 2022 [Online] Cited 06/12/2022

 

Alexandra Bell (American, b. 1983) 'Gang Leader' 2019

 

Alexandra Bell (American, b. 1983)
Gang Leader
2019
Screenprint, chine colle on paper and archival pigment print on paper
25 x 44 inches each
Courtesy of the Artist
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

“It’s imperative to show how a turn of phrase or a misplaced photo has real consequences for people at the margins who are still suffering under the weight of unfair and biased representation.” ~ Alexandra Bell

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Presented as a series of boldly reworked New York Times articles, each of the six works exhibited in Counternarratives perform visual examinations that reveal news media’s complicity in perpetuating racial prejudice in America. Through redactions of original text, revised headlines, and margins replete with red sharpie annotations, Bell reveals the implicit biases that control how narratives involving communities of colour are depicted and in turn disseminated under the aegis of journalistic ‘objectivity.’ Bell identifies misleading frameworks and false equivalencies in journalism’s coverage of events like the murder of the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson, MO police officer, Darren Wilson in 2014, which is explored in her work “A Teenager With Promise.” The series demonstrates the extent to which white-centered, sympathetic news coverage remains pervasive within even liberal news organisations. By arguing back and calling out these inequities, Bell gives voice to the ways in which power operates through language to articulate our lived, bodily experiences in the world.

Anonymous text. “Alexandra Bell: Counternarratives,” on the Charlie James Gallery website 2019 [Online] Cited 07/12/2022

 

Alexandra Bell (American, b. 1983) 'A Teenager with Promise (Annotated)' 2018

 

Alexandra Bell (American, b. 1983)
A Teenager with Promise (Annotated)
2018
Screenprint, chine colle on paper and archival pigment print on paper
44 x 35 inches/each
Courtesy of the Artist
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

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06
Jan
23

Exhibition: ‘Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror’ at Tate Britain, London

Exhibition dates: 17th October 2022 – 15th January 2023

Curators: Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror is curated by Carol Jacobi, Curator of British Art 1850-1915 and James Finch, Assistant Curator of 19th Century British Art at Tate Britain, supported by Yasufumi Nakamori, Senior Curator of International Art (Photography), Tate Modern.

 

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983) 'Woman Swimming' Nd

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983)
Woman Swimming
Nd
Tate
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax from the Estate of Barbara Lloyd and allocated to Tate 2009
© The Estate of Bill Brandt

 

 

I have written about the German-British photographer Bill Brandt in other postings on Art Blart: Bill Brandt at the Fundación Mapfre, Madrid in 2021; and Bill Brandt: Shadow and Light at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2013. After viewing installation photographs of this exhibition at Tate Britain it seems a particularly sparse and limited representation of the great artists work.

Of interest are cabinets where we can see Brandt’s many photobooks and magazine spreads and observe the pairing of the images and their compositional rhymes, but some of these are facsimiles. We also notice the different cropping of the image Toppers (below) from the same image with a different title seen earlier, Hatter’s window, Bond Street (c. 1931-1935, below).

For me, the most exciting experience is seeing the double page magazine spread ‘The Perfect Parlourmaid’ from Picture Post magazine 29 July 1939 featuring photographs from Brandt’s book The English at Home (1936). I have never seen this before, nor many of the images the spread contains. It shows how the editors and photographer constructed the story they wanted to tell.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to Tate Britain for the four press images. Installation images are courtesy of my friend and artist Drager Meurtant who took them at my request. Many thankx to him for his effort.

 

British photographer Bill Brandt (1904-1983) was a leading photographer in the mid-20th century. This period of experimentation and rapid growth saw photography displayed in art galleries and seen by millions in illustrated magazines.

Brandt’s images of daily life merged documentary with art. He was inspired by many sources, from books such as Alice in Wonderland to the sculpture of Henry Moore and the film Citizen Kane.

This exhibition of works in Tate’s collection reveals how Brandt changed his practice throughout his career and crafted each photograph to capture the surreal beauty he saw in the everyday.

 

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

 

Installation view of the exhibition Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 – January 2023 showing at centre, Brandt’s Woman Swimming (modern mural enlargement, above)
Photo: Drager Meurtant

 

 

‘The photographer has to wait until something between dreaming and action occurs in the expression of the face.’

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Bill Brandt

 

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

 

Installation view of the exhibition Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 – January 2023 showing from left to right, Brandt’s photographs Louise Nevelson’s Eye (1963, below); Pablo Picasso at “La Californie” (1955, below); Georges Braque on the beach at Varengeville, Normandy (1955, below); and Glenda Jackson (1971, below)
Photo: Drager Meurtant

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

 

Installation view of the exhibition Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 – January 2023 showing Brandt’s photograph Louise Nevelson’s Eye (1963, below)
Photo: Drager Meurtant

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983) 'Louise Nevelson's Eye' 1963

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983)
Louise Nevelson’s Eye
1963
Gelatin silver print on paper, later print
© The Estate of Bill Brandt

 

 

Brandt’s first job as a photographer was in the studio of Grete Kolliner, in Vienna. Greta taught Brandt to compose and light the scene and modify the image in the darkroom to create the desired effect. in the studio of Man Ray in Paris, he learned the surreal potential of manipulating and distorting these techniques.

In the 1950s and 60s Brandt represented artists by their eyes, including the sculptor Louise Nevelson. Her gaze avoids us, suggesting inner thought. The extreme close-up makes her features unfamiliar and strange; their textures and reflections take on the vastness of a landscape.

Wall text

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983) 'Pablo Picasso at "La Californie"' 1955

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983)
Pablo Picasso at “La Californie”
1955
Gelatin silver print on paper, later print
© The Estate of Bill Brandt

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

 

Installation view of the exhibition Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 – January 2023 showing Brandt’s photograph Georges Braque on the beach at Varengeville, Normandy (1955, below)
Photo: Drager Meurtant

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983) 'Georges Braque on the beach at Varengeville, Normandy' 1955

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983)
Georges Braque on the beach at Varengeville, Normandy
1955
Gelatin silver print on paper, later print
© The Estate of Bill Brandt

 

 

After the Second World War, Brandt could travel again and he spent time on the north and south French coast. He photographed artists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.

Picasso was 74 when Brandt photographed him in his villa on the Cote d’Azur, for the American magazine Harper’s Bazaar. Brandt wrote a self-deprecating account of Picasso avoiding the sitting. The portrait turned out relatively conventionally, the close-up head and preoccupied gaze sharp against the soft-focus complexities of the cluttered room.

Accepted by HM Government in Lieu of inheritance Tax and allocated to Tate 2019

Wall text

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983) 'Glenda Jackson' 1971

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983)
Glenda Jackson
1971
Tate
Gift Eric and Louise Franck London Collection 2013
© The Estate of Bill Brandt

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

 

Installation view of the exhibition Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 – January 2023 showing from left to right, Brandt’s photograph Louise Nevelson’s Eye (1963, above); Pablo Picasso at “La Californie” (1955, above); Georges Braque on the beach at Varengeville, Normandy (1955, above)
Photo: Drager Meurtant

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

 

Installation views of the exhibition Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 – January 2023 showing at left in the bottom image, Brandt’s photograph Glenda Jackson (1971, above) next to a modern mural enlargement
Photos: Drager Meurtant

 

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

Installation view of the exhibition 'Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror' at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 - January 2023

 

Installation views of the exhibition Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror at Tate Britain, London, October 2022 – January 2023 showing at right, Brandt’s photograph Portrait of a Young Girl, Eaton Place (1955, below) next to a modern mural enlargement
Photos: Drager Meurtant

 

 

Citizen Kane

Brandt saw Orson Welles revolutionary film Citizen Kane many times after its release in 1941. Its style was openly artificial. Theatrical lighting, deep focus and wide angles distorted figures, making familiar settings appear strange and surreal.

‘I’d never seen a film in which real rooms were used and you could see everything, the ceiling, the terrific perspective. I was very much inspired by it and I thought I must make photographs like that.’

In 1944, Brandt bought a simpler camera, the Kodak Wide Angle. This type of camera was used by auctioneers or the police for recording merchandise and evidence, because it could capture a whole room. He began a series of experimental interiors that changed his photographic style.

Wall text

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983) 'Portrait of a Young Girl, Eaton Place' 1955

 

Bill Brandt (British born Germany, 1904-1983)
Portrait of a Young Girl, Eaton Place
1955
Tate
Gift Eric and Louise Franck London Collection 2013
© The Estate of Bill Brandt

 

 

Brandt photographed people in rooms with a Kodak Wide Angle camera. The lens was fixed and kept everything beyond four feet away in focus. Her profile is enlarged in contrast to the small, distant windows that appear sharp in the background.

Judith looms like Alice in Wonderland. Her pose creates a dreamlike effect and her eyes are in shadow. The formal interior recalls the beginning of Alice’s adventure. The empty chair adds to the uncanny atmosphere. A similar button-backed, seat featured in Alice Through the Looking Glass. It was a prop in many of Brandt’s photographs.

Gift of Eric and Louise Franck London Collection 2013

Wall text

 

Kodak wide angle view camera / Bill Brandt. The camera is equipped with a Carl Zeiss Protar 1:18 8.5cm lens. This very rare Kodak wide angle view camera is very slim, and does not have bellows. The front accepts interchangeable panels should the user wish to fit other suitable lenses. There is a spring-back with a ground glass, two plate holders and a transport case. Bill Brandt used one of these cameras for photographs in his book “Wide Angle Nudes”. Format 6.5 x 8.5 inches (16.5 x 21.5cm) The wide angle lens has a very large depth of field, and the aperture of f45 eliminates the need to focus. The field of view is 110° or the equivalent to a rectilinear lens of 14 or 15 mm on a 35 mm camera.

Anonymous text. “Wide angle KODAK View Camera / Bill Brandt,” on the Antiq Photo website [Online] Cited 05/11/2022

 

What Brandt had bought was a rare Kodak Wide Angle Camera with Zeiss Protar Lens, used by police for recording crime scenes. The wide angle lens captured the whole scene while the small f45 aperture gave full depth-of-field. Essentially it was a fixed focus box camera allowing untrained coppers to get the shot on the generous full plate film. The lens was a Carl Zeiss Jena f18 Protar of 85mm focal length, giving a very wide 110 degree angle of view, equivalent to 15mm lens on 35mm format.

These cameras are extremely rare, perhaps only made for the police force, but John Rushton’s website has one and you can see all the details. It is an original design, as the pictures show, with curious features such as the small “feet” on the back which allows you to lay it on the ground to shoot vertically up.

Greg Neville. “Bill Brandt’s camera,” on the Greg Neville photography blog October 26, 2015 [Online] Cited 05/11/2022