Paul Strand’s life and photography has been a huge influence on my development as a photographer. A 1991 retrospective exhibition of Strand’s work in at the St Louis Art Museum was a game changer for my appreciation of the ability of a fine print to contain and express a complete vision in not only a single image but in a focused body of work.
At a recent exhibition of photogarphy at the National Gallery of Art, In Light of the Past, I came upon several Strand prints that again reminded me of the power of his photography. Something that was written in the gallery blurb next to his work caught my attention:
Strand came to believe that photography was a gift of science to the arts, that is was an art of selection, not translation, and that objectivity was its very essence.
This short statement is powerful in many ways, validating photography as an art and defining the artistic process and essence of photography. Strand’s work never lets me down.