Revered as one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, Strand defined the way fine art and documentary photography is understood and practiced today.
Paul Strand: Photography and Film for the 20th Century will encompass over 200 objects from exquisite vintage photographic prints to films, books, notebooks, sketches and Strand’s own cameras to trace his career over sixty years. Arranged both chronologically and thematically, the exhibition will broaden understanding to reveal Strand as an international photographer and filmmaker with work spanning myriad geographic regions and social and political issues.
Martin Barnes, curator of the exhibition said: “The V&A was one of a handful of UK institutions to collect Paul Strand’s work during his lifetime and the Museum now houses the most extensive collection of his prints in the UK. Through important additional loans, the exhibition will not only explore the life and career of Strand, but also challenge the popular perception of Strand as primarily a photographer of American places and people of the early 20th century.”
The exhibition will begin in Strand’s native New York in the 1910s, exploring his early works of its financial district, railyards, wharves and factories. During this time he broke with the soft- focus and Impressionist-inspired ‘Pictorialist’ style of photography to produce among the first abstract pictures made with a camera.
The influence of photographic contemporaries Alfred Stieglitz and Alvin Langdon Coburn as well European modern artists such as Braque and Picasso can be seen in Strand’s experiments in this period. On display will be early masterpieces such as Wall Street which depicts the anonymity of individuals on their way to work set against the towering architectural geometry and implied economic forces of the modern city. Strand’s early experiments in abstraction, Abstraction, Porch Shadows and White Fence will also be shown, alongside candid and anonymous street portraits made secretly using a camera with a decoy lens, such as Blind Woman.
Tickets will go on sale in January 2016. Admission £9 (concessions available). V&A Members go free. Advance booking is advised – this can be done in person at the V&A; online at vam.ac.uk/paulstrand; or by calling 0800 912 6961.