Paul Strand (1890-1976), a venerable patriarch of American modernism photography, left an indelible mark on the medium with its distinctive approach. Immersed in the dynamic energy of New York City, Strand’s lens captures not only its cityscapes but also the authentic essence of its people. A true innovator, he ventured beyond conventional techniques, even creating a unique camera setup–one pointing in a fake direction alongside a real one focused on the subject–to unveil the genuine facets of New Yorkers. Whether framing cityscapes, objects, or individuals, Strand’s lens masterfully revealed authenticity, a testament to his unwavering commitment to true documentation.


Paul Strand was born in New York City on October 16, 1890. He attended the Ethical Culture School, where he was mentored by Lewis Hine, who influenced his entrance into the photographic world, introducing him to artists like Alfred Stieglitz, Edward J. Steichen, Frederick Evans, and Clarence White. By 1915, he had crystallized his vision, exploring movement in the city, street portraits, and abstraction. Diverging from his peers, he eschewed excessive editing, choosing instead to harness the inherent power of the camera for authentic documentation. In 1921, his collaboration with Charles Sheeler on the film “Manhatta” marked the beginning of his cinematographic career. In the 1940s, Strand delved into photographic books documenting his travels and pursued a parallel path in documentary film and photography. Culminating his illustrious career in France, he embraced his roots, documenting people, and the city through a humanist lens. His commitment to precision firmly situates him among the true pioneers in the history of photography.


Strands impact was further affirmed through solo exhibitions at Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery in 1917, retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1945 and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1967, and a notable showcase at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in 2016. His prolific career includes influential publications in Camera, as well as photographic books such as “Time in New England, “La France de Profil,” “Un Paese,” and “Living in Egypt. In 1976, he published two portfolios, “On My Doorstep” and “The Garden,” and in 1984, he was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum
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