Paul Strand

(1890 - 1976)
Paul Strand John Angus MacDonald, South Uist, Hebrides 1954 © Paul Strand Archive


Paul Strand was one of the leading modernist photographers in the United States, with a career spanning sixty years. Born in New York City, he was a student of Lewis W. Hine at the Ethical Culture School, New York, from 1904-08, and by 1916 had a solo show at Alfred Stieglitz's Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession. During the 1930s, Strand became engaged in filmmaking and did not return to still photography until the 1940s, at which time he was given a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1945. With McCarthyism sweeping America in the 1950s, Strand, who was suspected of communist tendencies, went into exile in France. During this period he began working on a series of photo essays in search of an ideal community that embraced the strong moral values he wanted to record with the camera. In the early 1970s Strand returned to America, where a series of retrospectives toured the country. Strand died in 1976 at Orgeval, France.

Glossary terms

  • Prints made in silver bromide or chloride carried in a layer of gelatine on paper.

  • A 19th century movement among photographers who explored the artistic potential of the new technology, looking to paintings for stylistic models.