Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – 1 June 2018

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up – the first solo exhibition in ten years of Dan Weiner’s Vintage New York 1940-1959. Also, a photo essay by a lesser known photographer, Esmaeil Haghparast’s documentation of Iranian pottery artisans, a dying art impacted by economics and toxic dangers. A reminder too, the deadline for the W. Eugene Smith Grant ($35,000) has been extended to Friday, June 8that 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time / New York.

Exhibition: New York

Dan Weiner: Vintage New York 1940-1959


Minute Women for Peace at the U.N., New York City, ca. 1951
Minute Women for Peace at the U.N., New York City, ca. 1951 (C) Dan Weiner

In the 1940s Dan Weiner was a member of the Photo League, a group of socially minded photographers that included Paul Strand, W. Eugene Smith, Aaron Siskind and Dorothea Lange. Weiner firmly believed in the power of photography to draw attention to social issues and affect change and his photographs of his home town, New York City, was as much about social commentary as it was early street photography.

In 1898 Ingrid Sischy wrote in her New Yorker story about Weiner that it was the “stretch of time when supposedly nothing much is going on” that was Weiner’s ‘decisive moment’. “That’s why everything is there,” said Sischy, “All the dynamics between people which most other photographers missed because they were holding out for the remarkable. It’s clear why Garry Winogrand, who sought that same artlessness in his snapshots, admired Weiner’s work….These photographs treat the workday and domestic life of the fifties as though it were as much a subject for revelation as the court was in Velasquez’s time, or the battlefield in Delacroix’s.”

57th St New York City ca 1951 (C) Dan Weiner
Couple New York 1948 (C) Dan Weiner
East End Avenue New York 1950 (C) Dan Weiner

This exhibition comprises photographs Weiner took in his documentation of Yorkville, a working-class neighbourhood,  At the time, the tenement apartments in Yorkville were so cramped that much of the social interactions of both adults and children took place in the streets. These photographs emerged from a larger photographic endeavour, “Neighborhoods of New York”, a Photo League project spearheaded by Consuelo Kanaga.

Weiner died at age 39, on assignment in Kentucky, when a small plane, piloted by the subject of his story, slammed into a mountainside during a freak snowstorm. After Weiner’s death, Walker Evans said “There have always been a few serious, gifted hands working in photography, since its beginnings. Dan Weiner was one of them.”

During his short career, Weiner’s photographs appeared in Fortune, Collier’s, This Week, Life, and Look.  In 1956 Weiner covered the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott for Collier’s. His photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights struggle in Montgomery are among the most iconic and effective records of those dramatic events.

East End Avenue New York 1950 (C) Dan Weiner
Fifth Avenue ca 1950 (C) Dan Weiner
Subway Riders 1948 (C) Dan Weiner
Two Men ca 1950 (C) Dan Weiner
Two Women ca 1950 (C) Dan Weiner

Dan Weiner: Vintage New York 1940-1959

Steven Kasher Gallery 515 West 26th Street New York NY 10001

(All images courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery)

Photo Essay:

Millennium Arts – Esmaeil Haghparast

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The ancient art of pottery, which literally dates back thousands of years in Iran, is  coming to an end as young artists, deterred by the use of toxic materials, poor working environments and little economic return, shun learning the practice. The few who are left toil at their craft in conditions that are almost as primitive as the practice itself.

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