Archive for June 20th, 2013


paul strand ny 1916No matter what lens you use, no matter what speed the film, no matter how you develop it, no matter how you print it, you cannot say more than you can see.

–Paul Strand


I have featured the photography of Paul Strand here before, writing about his groundbreaking work in the early decades of the 20th century.  There is something about his work and his eye that is unmistakable, something that jumps from the surface.  When I saw this photo of a park in NY, here on the right, I knew immediately that it was Strand’s work.

I love this image, with the abstraction of the forms with the sidewalk forming a flowing diagonal through the picture plane.  The single figure in the lower third of the photo, cutting across the park in full stride,  becomes the focus for me, the soul of the picture.  He becomes the singular voice in a busy anonymous world.

Paul-Strand-The-Court-New-York-1924I think  the way in which he applies abstraction to the common forms in his work is wonderful and inspiring as an artist, something too many of us forget in our own work.  We become too concerned with simply capturing subject and not the emotion created in how that subject fits into its environment.  His best work speaks purely of emotion to me and he was able to find it everywhere.  As he said:  The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.

I think those are words to live by for any artist.

Paul Strand Abstraction Connecticut 1916


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