American Dreams: Iconic Images of 20th Century Life

Richard Avedon, Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent, 1981

Gertrude Käsebier, The Sketch (Beatrice Baxter), 1903

Lewis Hine, Powerhouse Mechanic, 1920

Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936

Mary Ellen Mark, Lily with Her Rag Doll, Seattle, 1983

American Dreams: Iconic Images of 20th Century Life

American Dreams is a wonderful exhibition that provides a survey of the great American photographers of the 20th century. The exhibition consists of of photographs from arguably the world’s most important photographic museum, George Eastman House, and is currently being shown at Australia’s Bendigo Art Gallery.

The works highlight the pioneering role these American artists have had on the world stage in developing and shaping photography, and the impact these widely published images have had on the greater society. Their far-reaching images helped shape American culture, and had an impact on the fundamental role photography has in communications today. Even more than this, we can see through these artists the burgeoning love of photography that engaged a nation.

These images show us not only the development of photography, but also provide some of the most powerful social documentary photography of the last century. We see extraordinary moments captured in the lives of a wide range of Americans, works that distil the dramatic transformation that affected people during the 20th century: the affluence, degradation, loss, hope and change, both personally and throughout society.

American Dreams: Iconic Images of 20th Century Life

Photo-Gallery: American Dreams/Iconic Images of 20th Century Life

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Photos of the Day: Engaged Observers

Photography by: Walker Evans

Photography by: Leonard Freed

Photography by: Larry Towell

Photography by: Larry Towell

Photography by: Mary Ellen Mark

Photos of the Day: Engaged Observers

Documentary Photography: Engaged Observers is a collection of photographs by photographers who  created extended photographic essays that delved deeply into topics of social concern and presented distinct personal visions of the world.  Following in the tradition of Walker Evans and other Depression-era photographers, this series of works focuses on the tradition of socially engaged photographic essays since the 1960s.  Engaged Observers includes photographs from the following projects: The Mennonites by Larry Towell, Streetwise by Mary Ellen Mark, Black in White America by Leonard Freed, Vietnam Inc. by Philip Jones Griffiths, The Sacrifice by James Nachtwey and Migrations: Humanity in Transition by Sebastião Salgado.

Walker Evans: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Mary Ellen Mark: Streetwise (1984) Part I

Larry Towell: The Mennonites

Slide Show: Documentary Photography/Engaged Observers

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