The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 (Hardcover)
An in-depth look at the influential Photo League, whose blend of aesthetics and social activism advanced modern photography
Artists in the Photo League, active from 1936 to 1951, were known for capturing sharply revealing, compelling moments from everyday life. Their focus centered on New York City and its vibrant streets—a newsboy at work, a brass band on a bustling corner, a crowded beach at Coney Island. Though beautiful, the images harbor strong social commentary on issues of class, child labor, and opportunity. The Radical Camera explores the fascinating blend of aesthetics and social activism at the heart of the Photo League, tracing the group's left-leaning roots and idealism to the worker-photography movement in Europe. Influenced by mentors Lewis Hine, Berenice Abbott, and Paul Strand, artists in the Photo League worked within a unique complex comprising a school, a darkroom, a gallery, and a salon, in which photography was discussed as both a means for social change and an art form. The influence of the Photo League artists on modern photography was enormous, ushering in the New York School.
Presenting 150 works of the members of the Photo League alongside complementary essays that offer new interpretations of the League's work, ideas, and pedagogy, this beautifully illustrated book features artists including Margaret Bourke-White, Sid Grossman, Morris Engel, Lisette Model, Ruth Orkin, Walter Rosenblum, Aaron Siskind, W. Eugene Smith, and Weegee, among many others.
Published in association with The Jewish Museum, New York, and Columbus Museum of Art
The Jewish Museum, New York
Columbus Museum of Art
Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach
— Winner Photography/Art
"This book will be of great interest to readers interested in the history of photography. An essential title for academic and public libraries supporting photography collections."—Valerie Nye, Library Journal
— Valerie Nye
"[The catalogue] should be considered indispensable to a serious photography book library."—Studio International
— Studio International
Bronze Medal for the 2012 ForeWord Book of the Year Award in the Photography category
— Book of the Year Bronze Winner
"The Radical Camera. . . catalogue surveys and illuminates the many personalities and their politics that formulated the Photo League's tenants and ensuing oeuvre throughout the tumults of their times"—Bookslut
Won Honorable Mention for the 2012 Exhibition Catalogue Award given by the Dedalus Foundation
— Exhibition Catalogue Award Honorable Mention
Runner-up for the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival in the Photography/Art category, sponsored by JM Northern Media LLC
— Photography/Art Award Runner-up
Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2012 for Photography within the Humanities category.
— Outstanding Academic Title