Ben Shahn's Social Realism in Photography

Roy Stryker's Farm Security Administration is best known today as the organization that launched and elevated the careers of eleven documentary photographers. With a mission to capture the social landscape of America, both in urban and rural areas, the FSA archives is now considered one of the important collections of American history.

The names of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Jack Delano and John Vachon would be among the most remembered. But for Ben Shahn, photography was only the beginning. He is more known as a painter and graphic artist — his posters, murals, and mosaic tackling the socio-political issues of America. However, Shahn has long been interested in the gritty parts, and his photography spoke volumes of his passions and principles.

Shahn was recommended by his friend and former roommate Walker Evans to Roy Stryker, and the two went to the American south. His work exposed the living and working conditions. He pursued the spontaneous, candid and expressive moments,


Images are from the public domain, New York Public Library.

2018-03-08 #culture #documentary-photography #ben-shahn #social-realism

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