The documentary uses of Photography- part 2

Already from the early phases of the history of Photography, the  camera played a crucial role as a medium of representation of the non-fictional. The origins of the documentary view can be traced in the 1930s when the social and political reality of the Great Depression became the privileged subject of the photographic practice, which had already adopted and adapted a Modernistic aesthetic. This combination of the modern and the real in that era had educational purposes. In that time there are movements such as the campaigns which The Farm Security Administration and the Works Project Administration initiated.Berenice Abbott*, “Newsstand, East 32nd Street and Third Avenue,” 1935, Gelatin silver print, 19 3/4 in x 15 3/8 in., Bank of America Collection

*Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) photographed for the Works Project Administration.

In Europe during the same period new groups of photographers appear under the name “worker-photographers” with the mission to combat against what the call “bourgeois picture-lies”. A sample of the German version of this prospect can be found in the covers of the famous magazine Der Arbeiter Fotograf. In many European countries it is observed an left-wing anthropological form of documentary emphasizing the view of the world through a “class eye” and the breaking of the deception that the mass media images produced.Ernst Thormann, “Sonne, aber kein Grün”, Berlin, Nähe Alexanderplatz, 1929




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