Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Paul Strand: Seeing The Blind (1915 – 1954)

Share this:

These are the pictures we wait for. Paul Strand (October 16, 1890 – March 31, 1976) makes time travel possible. We go back to New York to see a blind woman stood on the streets in 1916; a mother and sons pose for his camera in the village of Luzzara on the Po River in Italy, 1953  – the communist father had been killed by political opponents; piermaster MacEachen is looking at us by his hut at Lochboisdale, South Uist, Hebrides in 1954.

Strand’s picture of Wall Street workers passing the looming facade of the then new Morgan Trust building blends people and landscape, creating a parabolising abstraction on modern life.

Strand took many of his photographs using a decoy lens on his camera, duping the subject into thinking he was photographing something else. The subject relaxes, observing the observer. But what do we see when we look at the Blind woman unable to return our gaze? The focus might just be on us. What do we look at?; what do we chose to look at?; what do we think worthy of recording and looking at again?

When Strand’s work was first published in the final edition of the journal Camera Work, editor Alfred Stieglitz – they were introduced by the great documentary photographer Lewis Hine, who taught Strand at the Ethical Culture School – commended Strand’s work as “devoid of all flim-flam; devoid of trickery and of any ‘ism,’ devoid of any attempt to mystify.”

 

PH.372-1982 Photograph 20thC; Strand Paul, Blind woman, New York, 1916 1916

Blind woman, New York, 1916

 

 Photograph Angus Peter MacIntyre, South Uist, Hebrides; Photograph by Paul Strand, ‘Angus Peter MacIntyre, South Uist, Hebrides’, 1954, gelatin silver print Paul Strand (1890-1976) Hebrides 1954

Angus Peter MacIntyre, South Uist, Hebrides; Hebrides, 1954

Couple, Rucăr, Romania 1967

 More details Portrait, Washington Square Park (1917)

Washington Square Park (1917)

Photograph 20thC; Strand Paul, Driveway, Orgeval, 1957 1957

Driveway, Orgeval, 1957

Photograph Katie Margaret MacKenzie, South Uist, Hebrides; Photograph by Paul Strand, 'Katie Margaret MacKenzie, South Uist, Hebrides’, 1954, gelatin silver print Paul Strand (1890-1976) Hebrides 1954

Katie Margaret MacKenzie, South Uist, Hebrides; 1954

Photograph Martine Franck 1972

Martine Franck, 1972

Photograph Milly, John, Jean MacLellen, South Uist, Hebrides; Photograph by Paul Strand, ‘Milly, John, Jean MacLellen, South Uist, Hebrides’, 1954, gelatin silver print Paul Strand (1890-1976) Hebrides 1954

Milly, John, Jean MacLellen, South Uist, Hebrides; Hebrides, 1954

New Mexico 1930 Paul Strand 1 MB © Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

New Mexico, 1930. © Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

Photograph Piermaster MacEachen, Lochboisdale, South Uist, Hebrides; Photograph by Paul Strand, ‘Piermaster MacEachen, Lochboisdale, South Uist, Hebrides’, 1954, gelatin silver print Paul Strand (1890-1976) Hebrides 1954

Piermaster MacEachen, Lochboisdale, South Uist, Hebrides; 1954

Rebecca, New York 1921 Paul Strand 1 MB © Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

Rebecca, New York, 1921 © Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

Photograph Sea Rocks and Sea, The Atlantic, South Uist, Hebrides; Photograph by Paul Strand, ‘Sea Rocks and Sea, The Atlantic, South Uist, Hebrides’, 1954, gelatin silver print Paul Strand (1890-1976) Hebrides 1954

Sea Rocks and Sea, The Atlantic, South Uist, Hebrides; 1954

The Family, Luzzara (The Lusettis) 1953 (negative); mid- to late 1960s (print) Paul Strand 1 MB © Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

The Family, Luzzara (The Lusettis), 1953 (negative); © Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

Photograph The Road, South Lochboisdale, South Uist, Hebrides; Photograph by Paul Strand, 'The Road, South Lochboisdale, South Uist, Hebrides’, 1954, gelatin silver print Paul Strand (1890-1976) Hebrides 1954

The Road, South Lochboisdale, South Uist, Hebrides; 1954

Wall_Street_New_York_1915_by_Paul_Strand__Paul_Strand_Archive_Aperture_Foundation

Wall Street, New York, 1915 © Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation

White_Fence_Port_Kent_New_York_1916_by_Paul_Strand__Paul_Strand_Archive_Aperture_Foundation

White Fence, Port Kent, New York, 1916

Young_Boy_Gondeville_Charente_France_1951__Paul_Strand_Archive_Aperture_Foundation

Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France, 1951

Catch more of Paul Strand’s work at the V&A.