Garry Winogrand, a Bronx native, tirelessly documented the bustling activity of people on the streets in New York City. In the unpredictable mix of people rushing about the city to complete errands, get to work, and visit with friends, Winogrand found an endlessly dynamic subject. In this candid scene, two women hail a taxi, while two girls in the background play paddy-cake to pass the time.
New York City, 1968
gelatin silver print, 8 7/8 x 13 3/16 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase and gift of Barbara Schwartz in memory of Eugene M. Schwartz. © 2012 The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.
Weegee (Arthur Fellig)
American, born Austria. 1899-1968
Weegee stalked the famous and the infamous, making pictures to sell to the city's many illustrated papers. Weegee was especially well known for his nighttime views of New York crime scenes and his candid depictions of moviegoers, but also had an interest in capturing the range of characters who populated Coney Island beaches, as in this picture which is filled with masses of people taking in the sun. In Coney Island, Weegee fills the composition with a sea of bathingsuit clad visitors enjoying the beaches and rides of this, obviously very popular, tourist destination.
Coney Island, 1968
gelatin silver print, 10 5/6 x 13 11/16 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Anonymous gift.
One of the earliest depictions of New York in the exhibition, his photograph captures one of the city's structural icons. The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883 and was the largest suspension bridge in the country. Standing squarely in the middle of the path, the unknown photographer who made this picture was likely drawn to the web of symmetrical cables radiating from the two arched towers.
Brooklyn Bridge, ca. 1914
gelatin silver print, 7 5/8 x 9 9/16 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The New York Times Collection.
American, born 1949
In New York Sights, Michael Spano's title refers to City Sights NY, the hop-on, hop-off, double-decker tour bus in the background. Painted on the bus is the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, two major tourist attractions of New York. In front of the bus, Spano presents a view of the interior space of a car whose occupants appear to be unaware of the photographer's presence as they navigate New York traffic. The photo conveys a sense of the congestion of New York's streets - it's busy, claustrophobic, overwhelming, while at the same time thoughtfully composed.
New York Sights, 2005
gelatin silver print, 27 3/4 x 34 7/8 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Lois and Bruce Zenkel Fund. © 2012 Michael Spano.
American, born 1954
Throughout her career, Cindy Sherman has worked as her own model, capturing herself in a range of guises and personas which are at turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting. With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetics, and props, Sherman alters both her physique and surroundings to create an endless list of characters and scenarios. The image is from the groundbreaking series "Untitled Film Stills" (1977-80), black-and-white pictures that feature the artist in stereotypical female roles inspired by 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, film noir, and European art-house films.
Untitled Film Still #21, 1978
gelatin silver print, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Horace W. Goldsmith Fund through Robert B. Menschel. © 2012 Cindy Sherman.
Throughout the 1950s, Dan Weiner's work appeared regularly in Fortune magazine, dutifully capturing the prosperity and cheer of the era for his editors. In his photograph, a woman adorned in a hat and blowing a horn is singled out in a crowd filled with people celebrating New Year's Eve. Weiner died young, in a plane crash while on assignment in 1959, but a close look at his career reveals his subtle, prescient appreciation of life in 1950s America.
New Year's Eve, Times Square, 1951
gelatin silver print, 9 1/4 x 13 3/16 inches. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Sandra Weiner. © 2012 Estate of Dan Weiner.
British, born 1952
Internationally acclaimed documentary photographer Martin Parr traveled to Georgia in 2010 and 2011 for his Picturing the South commission. Parr, who is known for his quirky and humorous approach to recording popular culture around the world, took the urban center of Atlanta as his focus. During one of his two visits, he photographed these two party-goers having beers at the annual Drive Invasion event. Hosted by the Starlight drive-in theatre on South Moreland Avenue, the event is a parking lot party featuring bands and movies.
Drive Invasion, an annual party at a drive-in theatre with cinema, shows, and rides, 2010
Inkjet print, Commissioned with funds from Paul Hagedorn and Lucinda W. Bunnen and Robert L. Bunnen 2012.28.8
British, born 1952
About Atlanta, Martin Parr remarked, "It has real soul... it feels unlike any other city in the U.S." In this photograph, Parr captured services at Ebenezer Baptist Church, a true Atlanta landmark located in the Sweet Auburn Historic district. Ebenezer was founded in 1886 and is best known for its association with the fight for civil and human rights through the leadership of Martin Luther King Sr. and his son Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parr offers a glimpse inside this celebrated church, at its congregants holding hands and engaged in song.
Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2011
Inkjet print, Commissioned with funds from Paul Hagedorn and Lucinda W. Bunnen and Robert L. Bunnen 2012.28.1
American, born 1971
Kael Alford's subject of a multi-year documentary project is the coast of Louisiana where her grandmother was born and that is home to the Native American communities of which Alford is a descendant. Alford set out to record the rapidly disappearing cultural and physical landscape of the region. She drew the title of her installation, "Bottom of da' Boot," from this young man's tattoo. He lives on an island that is eroding into the Gulf of Mexico.
Jacob Walker's Tattoo, Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, 2008
Inkjet print, Commissioned with funds from the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust 2012.26.2
American, born 1971
Kael Alford has trained her penetrating, documentary style on a remote community in the disappearing wetlands of Louisiana's coast. Severely damaged by gas and oil extraction and battered by storms and spills, the Louisiana marshlands are in a tenuous state. Here, a sign declaring "Indian Land" and "Keep Out" marks a sacred ancestral burial ground, surrounded by an oil boom. This photograph was taken following the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in which oil flowed from a sea-floor oil gusher from April through July of 2010.
Stranded Indian Land with Oil Boom, after the British Petroleum Oil Spill, South of Pointe-aux-Chenes, Louisiana, 2010
Inkjet print, Commissioned with funds from the Paul Hagedorn, the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, and Phyllis and Sidney Rodbell 2012.26.22.
American, born 1987
Shane Lavalette's project explores the environments that have given rise to and continue to inspire traditional Southern music. This picture depicts a graffiti-covered corner of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. An old poster of blues singer and legendary live performer, Frankie Lee, hangs behind the table and also bears the marks of club visitors. Clarksdale has been called the "birthplace of blues." Ground Zero opened in 2001 next door to the Delta Blues Museum.
Ground Zero, 2010
Inkjet print. Commissioned with funds from the Paul Hagedorn and the Friends of Photography. 2012.27.6
American, born 1987
Lavalette has traveled throughout the South over the past two years, recording a wide range of subjects related to his interest in musical genres such as old time, gospel, and blues. This image is a reference to the renowned Mississippi Delta Blues musician, Robert Johnson. According to legend, Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in order to play blues music, and event that is immortalized in Johnson's song, Crossroad Blues. The song's "crossroads" refer to the intersection of US Route 41 and US Route 61 in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Devil's Crossroads, 2010
Inkjet print. Commissioned with funds from Paul Hagedorn and the Friends of Photography 2012.27.5.