FOCUS ON AMERICA: Profiles of Nine Photographers by Mark Sufrin

FOCUS ON AMERICA: Profiles of Nine Photographers

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Biographies of key photographers reflect the history both of the medium and of our nation. A biographer, novelist, and filmmaker, Sufrin has turned these skills to the lives of nine giants in photography and shown how their work has affected us. His nine--Matthew Brady, William Henry Jackson, Edward Curtis, Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans, Margaret Bourke-White, and W. Eugene Smith--have documented a changing society and have themselves changed the way we communicate. Some have chronicled the major movements of our recent history, some have celebrated everyday life: most have done both. Their historical documentation has included labor history, the Great Depression, industrial change, the coming of age of the metropolis, wartime. Sufrin concentrates on the interplay between professional and personal influences, exemplified by Brady's relationship with telegraph inventor and daguerreotype teacher Morse and by Lange's walking through unsafe neighborhoods as a young polio victim ""learning a cloak of invisibility,"" which she later used to good advantage as a photographer. Sufrin correctly views photography as a revolution, signaling ""a new world of visual things."" His rich research and lively presentation give a fine view of that revolution. An inset section includes one to four photos by each photographer, well selected but tantalizingly few.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1987
Page count: 168pp
Publisher: Scribners