Posts Tagged ‘america

24
Dec
12

Exhibition: ‘Lewis Hine: Photography for a Change’ at the Netherlands Museum of Photography, Rotterdam

Exhibition dates: 15th September – 6th January 2013

 

Lewis Hine
. 'Man on hoisting ball, Empire State building' 1931

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Man on hoisting ball, Empire State building
1931
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

 

“In the last analysis, good photography is a question of art.”

“I wanted to show the thing that had to be corrected: I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated.”

.
Lewis Wickes Hines

 

 

Something that you really don’t get in reproductions is the absolutely beautiful tonality of Hine’s social documentary photography. Even less so when the images provided by the institution are degraded by scratches, dust, spots and colour irregularities. Despite these media images being 300 dpi when I received them from the museum media department they were in very average condition. For example, the image of Christmas Fiddles (below) was in such poor condition when enlarged that I had to spend over half and hour cleaning up the image to make it pictorially legible to the viewer at a larger size.

This is not an unusual occurrence and, unbeknownst to the readers of the blog, I spend many hours quickly cleaning the digital files before they are presented to you. Some individual images and sets of images are of such poor quality that I simply cannot use them at all. I will do a posting on this issue soon, but suffice to say that museums that spend thousands of hours and dollars staging impressive photographic exhibitions really let themselves down in the promotion of the exhibition if they provide dodgy scans and unusable media images to people that promote the exhibition for free. In this world of media saturated images it should be the norm that the “quality” of the image outweighs the indifferent quantity. With faster and faster download speeds larger images can be viewed more readily online and therefore scans provided by institutions must live up to this enlarged capacity.

Hopefully you can get some idea of the work of this socially conscious photographer, an American photographer who saw the camera as both a research tool and an instrument of social reform, whose images helped change the world with regard to child labour. Unfortunately success and reputation counted for nought. He died totally impoverished in 1940, shortly before a resurgence of public interest in his work raised him to the highest level of American photographers. What an infinite sadness.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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

 

Lewis Hine. 'Lunch Time, New York' 1910

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Lunch Time, New York
1910
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

Lewis Hine. 'Belgrade. Christmas Fiddles' 1918

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Belgrade. Christmas Fiddles
1918
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

Lewis Hine. 'Belgrade. Christmas Fiddles' 1918 (detail)

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Belgrade. Christmas Fiddles (detail)
1918
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

Lewis Hine. 'Steelworker standing on beam' 1931

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Steelworker standing on beam
1931
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

 

From 15 September 2012 to 6 January 2013, the Netherlands Museum of Photography will present the first large retrospective in the Netherlands of the work of the renowned American photographer Lewis Hine. Hine was an enthusiastic photographer who wished to improve people’s lives through his photos. His pictures of immigrants on Ellis Island, of child labour, and of workers busy on the Empire State Building high above New York belong to the visual icons of the 20th century. The internationally touring exhibition contains more than 200 photos and documents, many in their original state and originating from the collection of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York State. Lewis Hine is an initiative of three European institutions: Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson (Paris), Fundación MAPFRE (Madrid) and the Netherlands Museum of Photography (Rotterdam). It is with great pride that the Netherlands Museum of Photography can now present this exhibition that harmonizes perfectly with its aim to pay attention to the canon of international documentary photography.

Lewis W. Hine (Wisconsin, 1874 – New York, 1940), a sociologist and photographer, belongs to the group of famous photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz, Robert Frank, Robert Capa, Eugène Atget to whom the Netherlands Museum of Photography has previously devoted impressive exhibitions. Hine is known as a 20th-century pioneer of social documentary photography. It is characteristic of Hine that he strongly believed in the camera’s powers of conviction. Thus, armed only with a heavy camera he fought for social justice. For the National Child Labor Committee he travelled more than 75,000 kilometres through the United States to photograph children working in agriculture, the mines, factories, sewing attics, and on the streets. His photos were partly responsible for reforms in these fields. The themes in Hine’s work – child labour, situations of human indignity, and the vulnerability of immigrants and refugees – are still current. Despite his present reputation, his early successes and the fact that many governmental organisations made use of his photos, he died totally impoverished in 1940.

 

Empire State Building and Building the Rotterdam

In 1932 Lewis Hine published the famous photographic book entitled Men at Work, which covered the construction of the Empire State Building. From the most audacious vantage points he took photos of the 381-metre building, showing the strength and willpower of humankind, man’s contribution to industry. The tall buildings on the Wilhelminapier have determined the skyline of Rotterdam for many years, just as the Empire State Building did in New York around 1930. The Wilhelminapier is now under full development. De Rotterdam Building, designed by Rem Koolhaas of OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architectural) will be completed in 2013-2014. The photographer Ruud Sies has followed the genesis of the largest building in the Netherlands for four years now. The project entitled Building the Rotterdam – a work in progress by Ruud Sies was inspired by the work of Lewis Hine and establishes the connection with the Wilhelminapier as a historical location. To the Netherlands Museum of Photography, this is a reason to include this project in the exhibition of the work of Lewis Hine.

 

Exhibition

With 170 vintage photos from the period 1903-37 as well as 42 documents, this exhibition of Hine’s work is the first extensive and well-documented overview in the Netherlands and even in Europe. Hine’s entire oeuvre is on show, ranging from his earliest portraits of immigrants on Ellis Island to his work in Europe after the First World War. The Lewis Hine touring exhibition was on display in Paris toward the end of 2011, and in Madrid at the beginning of this year. For this international journey, Hine’s work has undergone preventative preservation treatment and is exposed to a minimum amount of light. After the exhibition in the Netherlands, the work will return to the George Eastman House in America to relax in a dark depot.”

Press release from the Netherlands Museum of Photography website

 

Lewis Hine. 'The Sky Boy' 1931

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
The Sky Boy
1931
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

Lewis Hine. 'Waiting for the dispensary to open Hull House District, Chicago' 1910

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Waiting for the dispensary to open Hull House District, Chicago
1910
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

 

Lewis Hine was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1874. He moved to New York City in 1901 to teach at the Ethical Culture School. There Hine used photographs as educational tools, and soon began to photograph immigrants at Ellis Island. He hoped his photographs would encourage people to “exert the force to right wrongs.” While continuing to teach at ECS, Hine began to do freelance work for the National Child Labor Committee, an association that transformed his professional life.

In 1908, the NCLC provided Hine a monthly salary to photographically document children in factories, mills, canneries, textile mills, street trades, and agricultural industries. Through his photographs he sought to alert the public to the extent of child labor in America, and the degree to which it denied these children their childhood, health, and education. In one year, Hine covered 12,000 miles in his quest to end abusive child labor. By 1913, Hine was considered the leading social welfare photographer in America.

Hine enjoyed a long and successful career following his work for the NCLC. He worked for the American Red Cross (1917-20), photographing refugees and civilians in war-torn Europe, a new series of photographs of immigrants at Ellis Island (1926), a series of photographs documenting the construction of the Empire State Building (1930), photographs of drought-ridden communities in Arkansas and Kentucky (1931), as well as work for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In 1936-37 Hine was appointed head photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Progress Administration. The aging Hine, however, was disappointed at the rebuff of his attempts to secure work with the Farm Services Administration, where director Roy Stryker considered Hine old fashioned and difficult. Lewis Hine died in 1940, shortly before a resurgence of public interest in his work raised him to the highest level of American photographers.

Text from Child Labour in Virginia: Photographs by Lewis Hine web page [Online] Cited 21/12/2012 no longer available online

 

Lewis Hine. 'Mechanic at steam pump in electric power house' 1920

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Mechanic at steam pump in electric power house
1920
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

Lewis Hine. 'Candy Worker, New York' 1925

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Candy Worker, New York
1925
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

Lewis Hine. 'Paris Gamin' 1918

 

Lewis Hine
 (American, 1874-1940)
Paris Gamin
1918
Gelatin silver print
© George Eastman House

 

 

Netherlands Museum of Photography
Wilhelminakade 332
3072 AR Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Opening hours
Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm

Nederlands Museum of Photography website

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21
Dec
12

Exhibition: ‘Edward Weston. Leaves of Grass’ at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Exhibition dates: 21st April 2012 – 31st December 2012

 

Edward Weston. 'Grand Canyon, Arizona' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Grand Canyon, Arizona
1941
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
.
It is not far, It is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know,
Perhaps it is every where on water and land.”

.
Walt Whitman. Part of Song of Myself from Leaves of Grass. 1855

 

 

Very little information about this exhibition on the website which is a pity because the photographs are exceptional, even if some do recall the style of other artists of the same era (Charles Sheeler, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, Clarence John Laughlin, and Walker Evans for example).

In 1941, “Weston was commissioned to take photographs for a pricey two-volume edition of “Leaves of Grass.” So over the course of nearly 10 months, Weston and his wife, Charis, drove more than 24,000 miles, through 24 states. Of the nearly 700 photographs he developed, he sent 74 to the publisher. Forty-nine appeared in the book.” (Mark Feney) “Over the course of the project Weston managed to produce some of the most compelling images of his later career that took his photography in a new and important direction. Like Whitman’s epic poems, they draw us into the history of this nation, the beauty of its landscape and the forthrightness of its ordinary citizens.” (Encore)

“Leaves of Grass has its genesis in an essay called The Poet by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published in 1845, which expressed the need for the United States to have its own new and unique poet to write about the new country’s virtues and vices. Whitman, reading the essay, consciously set out to answer Emerson’s call as he began work on the first edition of Leaves of Grass. Whitman, however, downplayed Emerson’s influence, stating, “I was simmering, simmering, simmering; Emerson brought me to a boil.”

The first edition was published in Brooklyn at the Fulton Street printing shop of two Scottish immigrants, James and Andrew Rome, whom Whitman had known since the 1840s, on July 4, 1855. Whitman paid for and did much of the typesetting for the first edition himself. Sales on the book were few but Whitman was not discouraged. The first edition was very small, collecting only twelve unnamed poems in 95 pages. Whitman once said he intended the book to be small enough to be carried in a pocket. “That would tend to induce people to take me along with them and read me in the open air: I am nearly always successful with the reader in the open air.” About 800 were printed, though only 200 were bound in its trademark green cloth cover.

The title Leaves of Grass was a pun. “Grass” was a term given by publishers to works of minor value and “leaves” is another name for the pages on which they were printed. Whitman sent a copy of the first edition of Leaves of Grass to Emerson, the man who had inspired its creation. In a letter to Whitman, Emerson said “I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom America has yet contributed.” He went on, “I am very happy in reading it, as great power makes us happy.”” (Amazon website)

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
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.

 

 

Edward Weston. 'Boulder Dam' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Boulder Dam
1941
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston. 'From 515 Madison Avenue, New York' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
From 515 Madison Avenue, New York
1941
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston (United States, 1886-1958) 'Schooner, Kennebunkport, Maine' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Schooner, Kennebunkport, Maine
1941
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston (United States, 1886-1958) 'Wedding Cake House, Kennebunkport, Maine' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Wedding Cake House, Kennebunkport, Maine
1941
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston. 'Shenandoah Valley, Virginia' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
1941
Photograph, gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston. 'Mammy’s Cupboard, Natchez, Mississippi' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Mammy’s Cupboard, Natchez, Mississippi
1941
Photograph, gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston. 'Woodlawn Plantation House, Louisiana' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Woodlawn Plantation House, Louisiana
1941
Photograph, gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

In 1941, the Limited Editions Club of New York invited photographer Edward Weston to illustrate its deluxe edition of Walt Whitman’s epic poem Leaves of Grass. The commission inspired Weston and his wife, Charis, to take a cross-country trip, throughout the South, the Mid-Atlantic states, New England, and back to California, in their trusty Ford, which they nicknamed “Walt.” Weston’s photographs from this project – mostly made with large, 8 x 10 camera – are exceptionally wide-ranging, with a particular focus on urban and man-altered landscapes. Although he never wanted his images to literally reflect Whitman’s text, Weston did relate to the poet’s plainspoken style and his emphasis on the broad spectrum of human experience. Weston wrote of the Whitman book: “I do believe… I can and will do the best work of my life. Of course I will never please everyone with my America – wouldn’t try to.

Text from the MFA Boston website

 

Edward Weston. 'Girod Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Girod Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana
1941
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston. 'Meraux Plantation House, Louisiana' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Meraux Plantation House, Louisiana
1941
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston. 'Belle Grove Plantation House, Louisiana' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Belle Grove Plantation House, Louisiana
1941
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston. 'Bessie Jones. St. Simons Island, Georgia' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Bessie Jones. St. Simons Island, Georgia
1941
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Edward Weston. 'Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Fry, Burnet, Texas' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Fry, Burnet, Texas
1941
Gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Part of Walt Whitman 'Song of Myself' from 'Leaves of Grass' 1855

 

Walt Whitman (American, 1819-1892)
Part of Song of Myself
from Leaves of Grass
1855

 

Edward Weston. 'Charis Wilson' 1941

 

Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958)
Charis Wilson
1941
Photograph, gelatin silver print
The Lane Collection
Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston website

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28
Apr
09

The Donora Digital Collection

April 2009

 

A shot of the Wire Works Acid Plant from across the Monongahela River nd

 

Unknown photographer
A shot of the Wire Works Acid Plant from across the Monongahela River
Nd
Gelatin silver print

 

 

I stumbled across this digital collection quite by accident when researching something entirely different and was amazed by some of the powerful images that reflect life in a Pennsylvanian industrial town. Sadly, the The Donora Digital Collection website is now no longer online.

The last photograph is one of the most painful and emotive I have seen in a long time. Man in suit underneath train

Sitting in a suit under a train this photograph says nothing but everything about this man’s life. He sits in the dirt, crumpled suit, dirty shirt, filthy hands, head bowed, one armed with his left suit sleeve hanging limply at his side, eyes daubed with dark rings staring straight at the camera under glowering lids. This is me this is who I am! he declares. Sitting in the dirt in a suit under a train.

Perhaps he was a odd job worker in the town, but he doesn’t wear a labourers clothes and the suit is incongruous with his dirty hand. Perhaps he was a hobo (A hobo is a migrant worker or homeless vagrant, especially one who is impoverished) hopping from town to town on the railcars hoping not to get caught. From the photograph it looks like the 1920s. The dark shadow of the train looms menacingly over him and two steel poles lay abandoned by the tracks. I can’t make out what the writing says directly above him and I am unsure whether it is written on the side of the train or on the photograph itself.

But it is his text… the marking an anonymous epitaph for his life: “I was here, I lived.”

And I thank God he did.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Please click on the photograph for a larger version of the image

 

 

Looking toward the Zinc Works in Donora, PA from Webster, PA, 1948

 

Unknown photographer
Looking toward the Zinc Works in Donora, PA from Webster, PA
1948
Gelatin silver print

 

Open Hearth and Rod Yard nd

 

Unknown photographer
Open Hearth and Rod Yard
Nd
Gelatin silver print

 

Wire workers in mill near large cables, August, 29, 1925

 

Unknown photographer
Wire workers in mill near large cables, August, 29, 1925
1925
Gelatin silver print

 

Acid storage area nd

 

Unknown photographer
Acid storage area
Nd
Gelatin silver print

 

 

“The month of October, 2008 marks the 60th Anniversary of a 1948 Donora smog incident that claimed the lives of at least 21 people and sickened thousands. All signs pointed towards the emissions from the world’s largest zinc mill and a weather inversion that encompassed the geographical horseshoe of the Mon Valley. Sixty years later a museum opened on McKean Avenue to preserve and share the unique history of Donora, PA and to celebrate the clean air movement that followed. This Digital Collection is the site of a special exhibit devoted to the arduous process of digitally preserving and cataloging hundreds of the primary source materials that have survived the test of time. These materials provide special insight into industrial and social aspects of American life in southwestern Pennsylvania and date from the beginning of Donora at the turn of the 20th century up to the current period.”

Text from the The Donora Digital Collection website [Online] Cited 24/04/2009 no longer available online

 

Workers among huge gear mechanisms nd

 

Unknown photographer
Workers among huge gear mechanisms
Nd
Gelatin silver print

 

Workers and crane inside the Wire Works, July 14, 1925

 

Unknown photographer
Workers and crane inside the Wire Works, July 14, 1925
1925
Gelatin silver print

 

Man in suit underneath train nd

 

Unknown photographer
Man in suit underneath train
Nd
Gelatin silver print

 

 

The Donora Digital Collection
Donora, PA: From its Origins to the Nationwide Case for Clean Air

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06
Jan
09

Exhibition: ‘The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise’ at the Smithsonian, Washington D.C.

Exhibition dates: 30th January 2009 – 28th February 2010

 

Addison Scurlock. 'Family portrait' c. 1925

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Family portrait
c. 1925
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

 

I so wish I was visiting Washington to see this exhibition!

If you get chance have a look through the Smithsonian NMAG Archives Center, ‘Portraits of a City: The Scurlock Photographic Studio’s Legacy to Washington, D.C.’ What a record of cultural and personal history, memory and a wonderful example of how photography can transcend time and space.

Click on the links at the top of the page or use the ‘General Resources: Browse all Scurlock images’ button at the left of page.

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

 

 

For over 80 years, the Scurlock photography studio catalogued the lives of the black middle class of Washington, D.C. (The exhibit, The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise, is on view at the National Museum of American History through November 15, 2009. Thanks to Lonnie Bunch, Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which co-organised the exhibit).

 

Addison Scurlock. 'Howard University Players' c. 1933

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Howard University Players
c. 1933
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

 

A Scurlock camera was “present at almost every significant event in the African-American community,” recalls former D.C. Councilwoman Charlene Drew Jarvis, whose father, Howard University physician Charles Drew, was a Scurlock subject many times. Dashing all over town – to baptisms and weddings, to balls and cotillions, to high-school graduations and to countless events at Howard, where he was the official photographer – Addison Scurlock became black Washington’s “photographic Boswell – the keeper of the visual memory of the community in all its quotidian ordinariness and occasional flashes of grandeur and moment,” says Jeffrey Fearing, a historian who is also a Scurlock relative.

The Scurlock Studio grew as the segregated city became a mecca for black artists and thinkers even before the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. U Street became known as “Black Broadway,” as its jazz clubs welcomed talents including Duke Ellington (who lived nearby), Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey. They and other entertainers received the Scurlock treatment, along with the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington; soon no black dignitary’s visit to Washington was complete without a Scurlock sitting. George Scurlock would say it took him a while to realise that his buddy Mercer Ellington’s birthday parties – with Mercer’s dad (a.k.a. the Duke) playing “Happy Birthday” at the piano – were anything special.

At a time when minstrel caricature was common, Scurlock’s pictures captured black culture in its complexity and showed black people as they saw themselves. “The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise,” an exhibition presented through this month by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, features images of young ballerinas in tutus, of handsomely dressed families in front of fine houses and couples in gowns and white tie at the NAACP’s winter ball.

Extract from David Zax. “The Scurlock Studio: Picture of Prosperity,” in the Smithsonian Magazine published on Smithsonian.com website February 2010

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964) 'Effie Moore Dancers' c. 1920s

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Effie Moore Dancers
c. 1920s
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964) 'Effie Moore Dancers' c. 1920s

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Effie Moore Dancers
c. 1920s
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964) 'Dunbar High School Champion Basketball Team' 1922

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Dunbar High School Champion Basketball Team
1922
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

The photograph features a young Charles Drew, fourth from the right, before earning his place in history for his pioneering work in developing the blood bank concept

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964) 'Charles Drew with the first mobile blood collecting unit [Charles Drew and Red Cross Medical Team]' February 1941

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Charles Drew with the first mobile blood collecting unit [Charles Drew and Red Cross Medical Team]
February 1941
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

Photographed nearly twenty years after his championship basketball season, Dr. Drew had recently been granted his doctorate and was spearheading the “Blood for Britain” program instituted in World War II to save the lives of Allied forces.

 

 

Charles Drew

Charles Richard Drew (June 3, 1904 – April 1, 1950) was an American physician, surgeon, and medical researcher. He researched in the field of blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage, and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks early in World War II. This allowed medics to save thousands of lives of the Allied forces. The research and development aspect of his blood storage work is disputed. As the most prominent African American in the field, Drew protested against the practice of racial segregation in the donation of blood, as it lacked scientific foundation, and resigned his position with American Red Cross, which maintained the policy until 1950.

Early life and education

Drew was born in 1904 into an African-American middle-class family in Washington, D.C. His father, Richard, was a carpet layer and his mother, Nora Burrell, was a teacher. Drew and his siblings grew up in D.C.’s Foggy Bottom neighbourhood and he graduated from Dunbar High School in 1922. Drew won an athletics scholarship to Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1926. An outstanding athlete at Amherst, Drew also joined Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, receiving his MDCM in 1933, and ranked 2nd in his class of 127 students. A few years later, Drew did graduate work at Columbia University, where he earned his Doctor of Medical Science degree, becoming the first African American to do so.

Academic career

In 1941, Drew’s distinction in his profession was recognised when he became the first African-American surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery. Drew had a lengthy research and teaching career and became a chief surgeon.

Blood plasma for British project

In late 1940, before the U.S. entered World War II and just after earning his doctorate, Drew was recruited by John Scudder to help set up and administer an early prototype program for blood storage and preservation. He was to collect, test, and transport large quantities of blood plasma for distribution in the United Kingdom. Drew went to New York City as the medical director of the United States’ Blood for Britain project. The Blood for Britain project was a project to aid British soldiers and civilians by giving U.S. blood to the United Kingdom.

Drew started what would be later known as bloodmobiles, which were trucks containing refrigerators of stored blood; this allowed for greater mobility in terms of transportation as well as prospective donations.

Drew created a central location for the blood collection process where donors could go to give blood. He made sure all blood plasma was tested before it was shipped out. He ensured that only skilled personnel handled blood plasma to avoid the possibility of contamination. The Blood for Britain program operated successfully for five months, with total collections of almost 15,000 people donating blood, and with over 5,500 vials of blood plasma. As a result, the Blood Transfusion Betterment Association applauded Drew for his work. Out of his work came the American Red Cross Blood Bank.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964) 'Murray Brothers Printing Company' 1925

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Murray Brothers Printing Company
1925
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

The Murray Brothers Printing Company, 1925, was home to The Washington Tribune newspaper and steps away from the entrepreneurial F.H.M. Murray’s other business, the Murray Palace Casino.

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964) 'YWCA camp for girls, Highland Beach Girls, Maryland' 1930-31

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
YWCA camp for girls, Highland Beach Girls, Maryland
1930-31
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964) 'YWCA camp for girls, Highland Beach Girls, Maryland' 1930-31

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
YWCA camp for girls, Highland Beach Girls, Maryland
1930-31
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964) 'Picketing Gone with the Wind outside Lincoln Theatre' 1947

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Picketing Gone with the Wind outside Lincoln Theatre
1947
Gelatin silver print
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

Rufus Byars, minstrel performer and manager of the theatre is the stooped figure to the left.

 

 

Nearly a century’s worth of photographs from the Scurlock studio form a vivid portrait of black Washington, D.C., in all its guises – its challenges and its victories, its dignity and its determination. The exhibition features more than 100 images created by one of the premiere African American studios in the country and one of the longest-running black businesses in Washington. Highlights include cameras and equipment from the studio and period artefacts from Washington.

Beginning in the early 20th century and continuing into the 1990s, Addison Scurlock, followed by his sons, Robert and George, used their cameras to document and celebrate a community unique in the world. They captured weddings, baptisms, graduations, sporting events, civil protests, high-society affairs, and visiting dignitaries. It was for portraiture, however, that the Scurlocks became renowned; they continue to be recognised today by scholars and artists as among the very best of 20th-century photographers who recorded the rapid changes in African American urban communities nationwide.

Text from the Smithsonian website

 

Addison Scurlock. "Miss Vinita Lewis" c.1940

 

Addison Scurlock (American, 1883-1964)
Miss Vinita Lewis
c. 1940
Courtesy of the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
© Scurlock

 

 

Smithsonian National Museum of American History 
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

Opening hours:
Open 10 am – 5.30 pm daily

Smithsonian Institution website

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05
Dec
08

Book: Robert Frank ‘The Americans’ (1st Scalo edition)

December 2008

 

Robert Frank. The Americans (1st Scalo edition)

 

The Americans. Photographs by Robert Frank. Introduction by Jack Kerouac. Scalo, Zürich/D.A.P., New York, 1993.
First Scalo edition. 179 pp. Oblong quarto. Hardbound in photo-illustrated dust jacket. Black-and-white reproductions.

 

 

WOW! One of the seminal books of photography and signed as well.

“It was Frank’s ‘The Americans’ that made the photographic book into an art form in its own right. Frank was following a lead set by [Wright] Morris’ book (‘The Inhabitants’) and, especially, by Evans’ ‘American Photographs’, both of which are designed to let pictures play off each other in a way that controls and reinforces their effect on the viewer. Even Klein’s ‘New York’ book displays this tendency. But Frank’s goes much further, creating a denser, richer, deeper structure of images than any book before it.”

Colin Westerbeck in Michel Frizot, et. al., The New History of Photography.

Estimated: $1200 – 1400

 

 

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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