Cart is empty
Sign in / Register
Erich Hartmann New York Stories 1946-1957
View photo details
June 21, 2012
by Erich Hartmann
These photographs are a small selection from the first ten years of Erich Hartmann’s photographic career which began in l946 when he arrived in New York City after Army service on the battlefields of France and Belgium during World War II.
He never tired of walking the streets of New York, always with camera in hand and sensibilities alert for the daily dramas and patterns of life on the move in the city he called home for the rest of his life, the place he would return to from travels in the years ahead.
This early work contains images that became major themes threading through his subsequent career in various places and guises. The baker at night began a preoccupation that became “Our Daily Bread”. This major exhibition in l962, including photographs from many countries, told the story of bread and those who produce it: tillers of the soil, planters, harvesters, millers, transporters, bakers, sellers and consumers. Working people and the work they produce was a long project which he called “Many Years Work” and which he added to over the years on his assignments world-wide. The Air Traffic Controllers assignment was his first opportunity to indulge photographically a life-long love affair with planes and aviation. A few years later he documented the building of the Britannia airplane in England, photographed the day’s journey of a American pilot and covered work at Boeing.
Similar situations in different places at different times appealed to him. The earliest photograph here , from l946, his first year in New York, is a street scene with intricate shadows and a man in a hat walking away from the camera. It makes a fine picture, but a similar street scene taken nine years later, again of a man in a hat walking away from the camera but caught in the light and with the bridge looming above in the distance is a great picture, often reproduced.
From his first efforts he had something to say, knew what he wanted and recognized it when he saw it. He found abstract images and patterns everywhere and was always drawn to the enigmatic as in the photograph here of a man solemnly adjusting his hat in front of a row house as a shadowy figure toils in the background. This 1948 image is now considered a Hartmann icon.
Brooklyn Bridge was the subject of Erich’s first major exhibition; the bridges linking Manhattan to the rest of the world were the subject of his last assignment and were published in a Munich magazine after his death. His life itself bridged many divides: national, cultural, linguistic, religious. These photographs are also a bridge, from his life and death in New York back to his birthplace in Munich.
More Information in German
© 2012 Magnum Photos - All rights reserved
Terms and conditions
Built by Orange Logic
Design by AREA 17
Magnum Photos is a photographic cooperative of great diversity and distinction owned by its photographer members. With powerful individual vision, Magnum photographers chronicle the world and interpret its peoples, events, issues and personalities.
Join us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter