Paul Strand

Paul Strand
Born Oct. 16, 1890
New York City
Died Mar. 31, 1976 (at age 85)
Orgeval, Yvelines
Nationality American

Paul Strand still remains one of the most well-regarded of all American photographers. Even many years after his passing, he maintains a following. His work was firmly rooted in the modernist movement and the passion that many still have for modernism ensures his work is always appreciated and continues to reach a new audience. His followers and critics strongly believe Strand’s work contributed enormously to photography becoming taken seriously as a legitimate form of art.

Early Years

Paul Strand was born on October 16, 1890, in New York City. He grew up in relatively humble beginnings to immigrant parents. When he was in his late teens, he would discover a profound love for art. Strand enrolled at Ethical Culture Fieldston School and went on to study art and photography from Lewis Hine, a well-respected documentarian during the silent era.

Hine took his students on a field trip to the 291 art gallery which was on 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City. The gallery was very popular until it closed in 1917. When Strand visited the gallery, he was taken aback by the many stunning modernist photo presentations on display. From this point forward, Strand began to take his study of art and photography very seriously. He drove himself to be a true standout as an artist.

Strand’s Photography Style

The work of Strand was quite interesting. On one end of his artistic spectrum, Strand attempted to use his work as a means of social reform. On the other end, he experimented in abstract photo art, which was quite atypical of a concept. Strand also had an affinity for traditional portrait painting, although he is not as well known for his traditional paintings as his photography.

Life in New Mexico and Mexico

Strand traveled frequently to New Mexico where he created a great deal of artwork. He also made many friends in the art community in New Mexico and this allowed him to draw support from his peers to further expand his creative horizons. Strand eventually traveled to Mexico where he captured a great deal of Mexican culture and the nation’s landscape in his photographs, too.

Venturing into Films

Paul Strand2Strand entered his first foray into filmmaking at the behest of the Mexican government when he made a documentary about Mexican fisherman. Later, in New York City, he filmed a project about high rises in New York City. The film, Manhatta, led Strand to concentrate mainly on film and theater while he lived in New York.

Strand’s Later Years

Around 1943, Strand was living in New England and he started creating photo art. In 1949, he moved to Orgeval, France, where he lived for 27 years. During this time period, he heavily invested his time in his artwork and produced a number of interesting works.

He traveled quite a bit around Europe and North Africa while creating numerous popular photo books. He passed away on March 31, 1976, at the age of 85.

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