Thursday, February 4, 2010
Broadway Convertible, New York, by Louis Faurer c.1949
Out of all of the photographs in the "Picturing New York"exhibition portraying the city in so many different ways, this photograph stood out to me because it portrays the city in a way that I have personally experienced it. Like the many people who go to New York for the first time, the feeling of excitement and awe is captured in this image. It, for me has a nostalgic dimension, very similar to a song you hear which reminds you of an event, a person or an experience in your past. In that way, a photograph, any photograph for that matter, can have so many unforeseeable and unimaginable effects on the viewer in addition to anything the photographer is trying to portray.
Louis Fraurer moved from Philadelphia to New York in 1947 where he met Robert Frank, a Swiss photographer. They quickly discovered a shared alienation from postwar America, along with a disdain for the cutthroat monde de mode. Frauer worked at a fashion photographer for more then twenty years but its his personal work from the '40s, '50s, and '60s for which he is best remembered. He photographed the streets of New York and Philadelphia, capturing the restless energy of urban life. Faurer experimented with blur, grain, double exposures, sandwiched negatives, reflections, slow film speeds, and low lighting to achieve the effects he was seeking. As exacting in the darkroom as he was in the field, he was notorious for being a tireless perfectionist when it came to cropping and printing his work.