Paul Strand Black & White

Paul Strand was born in New York City on October 16th, 1890. Living through the roaring twenties, and the civil rights era of the fifties, sixties, and early seventies, he's made a lasting impression in the photography world. He lived a long ripe life of 85, passing away on March 31st, 1976.

His influential style of photography specialized in black and white colors, portraits, abstraction, city landscapes, and majorly American Modernism. Earning him the title of the creator of modern American photography because his impact was so sensational. It was an art form, he understood the living expression of life in pictures.

Angus Peter MacIntyre, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954

Strand liked to use history and location (for ex: France, Italy, Egypt, and Ghana) his pictures, and demonstrate the technique of Straight\Pure photography. This type of technique refers to photography that attempts to depict a scene or subject in sharp focus and detail.

“Never Despair” Accra Bus Terminal, Ghana

Strand didn’t develop an interest in photography until later in high school, when he enrolled in a photography class taught by sociologist and photographer Lewis W. Hine. It was Hine who first introduced Strand to photographer and future mentor, Alfred Stieglitz at the latter's celebrated gallery 291. That visit, along with the influence of Hine’s progressive outlook, represented a pivotal moment for Strand who, at 17, declared his intention to become “an artist in photography.” Hine instilled in Strand a deep sense of commitment to the social betterment of humankind, and therefor helped Strand show that through his pictures. Hine was a major influence and a huge inspiration in Strand's life, and the two were good friends.

Oil Refinery, Tema, Ghana

Strand tended to experiment with soft-focus lenses. Also working with large format, candid, and 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 inch view cameras. Working with these helped achieve a aesthetic taste for his work. He created a means of shooting his subjects candidly. He worked out that by screwing in a false lens to one side of his camera pointing ahead while concealing the real lens under his arm facing his subjects, he was able to achieve such result.

Symbol of the People’s Party, Dwinyama, Ghana

He primarily used diffused and soft-focus light to achieve a soft cinematic look and to also create a portrait-like style. This also was a great way to use contrast wth black and white in his photos.

Anna Attinga Frafra, Accra, Ghana

Early influences like his mentors, Lewis W. Hine, Alfred Stieglitz, and another fellow photographer, Charles Sheeler, as well as composers of music like Picasso invigorated him with creativity and imagination to make his own styles of photography. He also found inspiration in modern paintings and sculpture which became a key factor in his pictures.

Grew up in a Jewish family. When Strand was twelve, his father gave him his first ever camera. This highlights the origins of how he started with photography. This is how it all started.

I love Strand's work because you can just tell it is full of rich, enduring details. He always seems to have a rather deep connection with the subjects in front of his camera ad I like w he learned about the locations he was shooting in. He immersed himself passionately in his wok and it shows in pictures like these. Strand paved the way for future photographers. I chose this photographer because I was immediately enraptured by his style of photography. t's simplistic but intensely personal and powerful with details. This guy was insanely cool.

Here are some more honorable mentions of the pictures he took over the years.

Market, Accra, Ghana
Mary Hammond, Winneba, Ghana
Created By
Hannah C.

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