February 24, 2014
Morton broffman Selma to Montgomery March Alabama 1965 The essence of the mass demonstration is expressed, first and foremost, by the act of walking. Morton Broffman, a keen social activist who dedicated himself to documenting some of the key events of the civil rights era, traveled to Alabama to participate in and record the Selma […]
Morton broffman Selma to Montgomery March Alabama 1965
The essence of the mass demonstration is expressed, first and foremost, by the act of walking. Morton Broffman, a keen social activist who dedicated himself to documenting some of the key events of the civil rights era, traveled to Alabama to participate in and record the Selma to Montgomery March for Voting Rights in the spring of 1965. For his photo, he singled out the children of Reverend Ralph Abernathy—a close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr.—who were there to witness this historic march on the Alabama state capitol. The image is part of Civil Rights Photography 1956–1958, a current exhibition at the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta.
Boogie Gypsy Kids in Downtown Belgrade Belgrade 1998
The Brooklyn-based photographer Boogie grew up in Belgrade, Serbia, and extensively documented the city as it was ravaged by rebellion and civil war in the 1990s, a time he calls “apocalyptic.” His 2008 book, Belgrade Belongs to Me, is a collection of portraits and street shots that probe into the lives of working-class people, like this boy walking to a baseball game. To us, it might be a nostalgic image: “Walking to a nearby ball field is another pleasure that has been engineered out of suburbia,” Speck says. But in Belgrade, the simple act of strolling down the street with a baseball bat seems like a wonderful act of resilience.
Courtesy Rena Effendi/Institute
Garry Winogrand Mukattes, Roma bride dancing at her wedding Istanbul 2011
Tarlabasi is an Istanbul neighborhood that has lagged behind the city’s flashy growth. Its inhabitants—a mix of Kurdish migrant workers from Anatolia, Roma gypsies, Greeks, and African immigrants —are being evicted as part of the city’s beautification plans. Effendi captures this time of change by documenting the wedding of Mukattes, a 17-year-old Roma dreading the prospect of leaving her neighborhood. This image, of the bride and her guests, is unusual for showing a celebration composed almost entirely of women taking over a public street.
© Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Lee Friedlander New York City 1966
This famous image is unique in that it is also a self-portrait. Friedlander’s shadow on the back of this blonde New Yorker shows how close he was to her when he took the photograph. The intrusion into her personal space—when her back is turned, maybe because she didn’t consent to the photograph or wasn’t aware of it—suggests the slightly oppressive feeling of walking in a dense city like New York, a then-intimidating vibe that was later reflected in films like Taxi Driver and Midnight Cowboy. In his pictures of city life, Friedlander often used depth and shadow to great atmospheric effect, suggesting melancholia or, as in this case, a vague unease.
© Vivian Maier/Maloof Collection
Vivian Maier December 21, 1961. Chicago, IL
Maier worked as a nanny for nearly four decades, creating street photography in her spare time. She took more than 100,000 images in her lifetime. But the vast majority of them were either unknown or undeveloped, until John Maloof, a Chicago historian and collector, discovered her archive in 2007. Following her death in 2009 at the age of 83, Maier’s work began to attract serious critical attention. This compelling street scene in Chicago is emblematic of the profound empathy found in her work: the people gathered around the distressed (or, perhaps, dying or dead) man are clearly strangers, but still deeply concerned about his welfare.