A promising breeze has been rustling the inner thickets of photography here—new people in new positions, new spaces, plus an emphasis on the rediscovery of early landmark photographs. The Arts Council of Great Britain, not unlike the National Endowment for the Arts in the United States, provides grants to artists and galleries, and is backing major exhibition programs at the Hayward Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery in London as well as providing the services of a tour department.
One day in May editor Jim Hughes and the staff of Camera Arts magazine were summoned to a meeting with their publisher. They were told that the July 1983 issue would be their last. Camera Arts, the most beautiful and dramatic of the popular photography magazines, a recent winner of the National Magazine Association's Award for Excellence, was to be shut down.
Jacob Riis, an immigrant himself, classified the communities he photographed in New York City late last century. He had this sense of the identity of the Bohemians, newly arrived from what is now the western part of Czechoslovakia: they were the Irish of Mitteleuropa.
The persistent problem in photography is how to look at it. In 1916, at the age of twenty-six, Paul Strand went to Alfred Stieglitz, whom he had visited many times before, with a splendid new series of photographs that included a number of portraits of ordinary people.
Ask about his night pieces and Philipp Scholz Rittermann will answer that he arrived at them purely by chance. He was wholesaling tea for a German concern at the time. It was 1980. Driving back and forth across West Germany he found himself searching out the commercial zones that lie at the outskirts of cities.
My interest in photographing prostitution areas in Brazil began in 1976 with an assignment in Brasilia and its satellite cities. I arrived in Luziania, a small town that had a zona—an area inhabited by prostitutes. It was then I started making pictures of zonas in different Brazilian towns.
Ralston Crawford's paintings of the 1930s and '40s of the newly exploding American industrial landscape firmly established him as one of the finest artist-poets of modern technology. Yet his photographs, some ten thousand images that involved him deeply and consistently for more than thirty years, are little known.
Mark Haworth-Booth Mark Haworth-Booth is assistant keeper of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. He has organized numerous exhibitions of photography, including one-man shows of Don McCullin and Henri Cartier-Bresson. He is now preparing The Golden Age of British Photography, 1839-1900, an exhibition that will tour the United States in 1984.