In the early 1940s, an amateur photograph named Charles Weever Cushman came to New York and spent his holidays photographing the city. 70 years later, his Kodachromes have become unique documents about a city which has never stoped to re-invent itself. Many of the areas pictured there have been indeed demolished or rebuilt since then.

C.W. Cushman - Fulton Street from South Street in downtown Manhattan, 1941
C.W. Cushman – Fulton Street from South Street in downtown Manhattan, 1941

While he was an amateur, C.W. Cushman photographed all his life, in the whole country. Today, the 14,500 color photographs he took from 1938 to 1969 are hold at the Indiana University Archive, where he was alumnus.

C. W. Cushman was born in Poseyville, Indiana, in 1896. He died in 1972.

Timothy H. O’Sullivan - Shoshone Falls, Idaho, 1868
Timothy H. O’Sullivan – Shoshone Falls, Idaho, 1868

O’Sullivan was part of a group of critically acclaimed 19th-century photographers — A.J. Russell, J.K. Hillers and William Bell — who went West in the 1860s and 1870s.

O’Sullivan was a photographer for two ambitious geographical surveys. He accompanied geologist Clarence King on the Geologic and Geographic Survey of the Fortieth Parallel and Lt. George M. Wheeler on the Geographical and Geological Surveys West of the 100th Meridian. During seven seasons (1867-1874) traversing the mountain and desert regions of the Western U.S., he created influential visual accounts of the American interior.

O’Sullivan first saw Shoshone Falls in September 1868 and it is the only site in the American interior he photographed twice during all his years in the West. So enraptured with his first 10-day experience of the Falls during the King Expedition, he returned on his own in 1874 to make what would be his last published photographs of the West.

sources/portfolios: and

By Tod Papageorge, 1981

Tod Papageorge has been Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Photography at the Yale School of Art since 1979. In this insightful essay, prepared in conjunction with exhibitions that he curated for the Yale University Art Gallery in 1981, he described in which extend Walker Evans’ work influenced the renowned “The Americans” from Robert Frank.

The purpose of this monograph is to describe the influence of Walker Evans’ American Photographs (1938) on The Americans (1959) of Robert Frank. To do this, the photographs in the two books have been edited and yoked together in a series of comparisons. What follows, then, is an exercise in speculation, one born of love and respect. It is offered as a working idea rather than an assured truth, a reasoned pretext for returning to the two great books it examines. (…)

Many of the matched photographs reproduced here obviously, and remarkably, echo one another; they demonstrate that, to a significant degree, Frank used Evans’ work as an iconographical sourcebook for his own pictures. The photographs that make up the rest of the comparisons, however, more loosely resemble one another, since they have been paired to describe something less tangible than clear correspondences of subject-matter, and, because of this, have been formally matched on the basis of only minor visual similarities. In a general sense, these comparisons are meant to remind us that the true shape of influence is one composed of feeling as well as conscious recognition, and, more particularly, to suggest that Frank found in Evans’ work not only a guide to what he might photograph in America, but a vision of how he might understand what he saw here. On pages 40 and 41, for example, the plate-like space that both pictures delineate is less relevant to the purposes of this book than the common sympathy the photographs express for the harrowing sorrow of being black in this country. And while a tin relic and a flag (20, 21) may be difficult to reconcile as a comparison, they are here because, apart from being stunning photographs, they speak of a mutual skepticism – the Ionic column is crushed, the flag immense and torn – and of both photographers’ gift for symbol-making.

The problem of composing these less literal comparisons could have been approached by using pictures not found in American Photographs. Frank obviously knew the work that Evans had done from fixed camera positions in the streets of Detroit and Chicago in 1946-47; he also clearly knew the great series of subway portraits that Evans had completed by 1941, but did not release in book form for twenty-five years (Many Are Called, Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1966). Yet, while it is probable that Frank learned from all of Evans’ work, his debt to American Photographs is so profound that, by considering this one book, we can observe not only the fact of influence, but the way in which a brilliant young photographer embraced and comprehended a masterpiece.

Read the complete article on American Suburb X

In the late 50s, the Look magazine sent its star photojournalist on assignment to shoot pictures for a story documenting people’s life in the city of Chicago.

S. Kubrick - People arriving at a Chicago theater for show starring, in person, Jack Carson, Marion Hutton, and Robert Alda, 1949

S. Kubrick - People arriving at a Chicago theater for show starring, in person, Jack Carson, Marion Hutton, and Robert Alda, 1949

Stanley Kubrick started to work for Look by chance. After having bought his photograph from a of mournful mananewsstand owner on the morning following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death, the magazine decided to employ him as an apprentice photographer. In 1945, Kubrick’s first piece for Look appeared.

In the 1949 “Chicago City of Contrasts” serie,  snapshots in Kodak Super XX Large format film depicted street life, workers routine, boxe fights. Portraits of the deprived, the doomed, and the winners. Many night scenes. As the title says, this photo essay was supposed to bring a new look on Chicago, focusing on the unknown aspects of its unhabitant’s life. But beyond the subject of each photographs, it seams that it is the role cast for every of the protagonists which especially inspired the film maker.
This is how in 1950, He dropped out this freelance job in order to pursue film making.
Here a selection of the “Chicago City of Contrasts” serie:

Credits : Stanley Kubrick, LOOK Magazine Collection, Library of Congress

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