Paul Strand robyn HAy

What is He Known For?

Paul Strand was a very influential photographer and an early icon of the "straight photography" school. In contrast to pictorialism, "Straight Photography" was a move to "pure photography" which was loosely defined as having stylistic traits. Pure or straight photography refers to photography that attempter to depicta scene or subject in sharp focus and detail. His work was highly influenced by Alfred Stieglitz and Charles Sheeler. Strand's work had a huge impact on the f/64 school of photographers (Ansel Adams, Edward Weston Etc).

Who is Paul Strand?

Paul Strand was born in 1890 and grew up in New York. He began taking photography courses with Lewis Hine at the age of 17. The studies that Hine and himself had done included a field trip to the famous art gallery 291 which was located on the 5th Avenue in New York, this gallery was operated by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. With looking at the modernest photography, sculptures and the paintings within the 291 gallery this inspired Strand to be committed to his own work.

In 1915 Strand started working with large format cameras (aka "straight photography"). He combined elements of abstraction and reality in his composition, this is how he started to create his own personal style. With such a strong influence by Stieglitz and Sheller, his subject matter ranged from architectural pictures, portraits and still life studies.

In 1936 he joined Berenice Abbott and started the Photo Leauge. The photo leauge was a collaboration of photographers who's initial purpose was to raise social awareness of trade union activities and social protests. During this period Strand became intensley interested in moving images and spend nearly a decade working in cinematography. He helped start the documentary film company Frontier Films and spent the next decade working extensively with moving pictures.


Paul started off shooting glass plates; his cameras included an 8x10 Korona view camera and a 4x5 or 5x7 Graphflex. There is a claim there that Strand ultimately did some work with 35mm, but there is no visual evidence to state this.

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