I don’t mean to challenge Giséle Freund, but . . .

Portrait photography had its origins in France, but photojournalism began in Germany, where the work of the first photoreporters truly deserving of the name gave the profession prestige.

After the First World War . . . (Photography and Society p. 115)

According to Robert Taft in Photography and the American Scene (441) the usage of photographs in newspapers in 1899 tells a different story:

Journal Photographs Drawings
Illustrated London News 28 19
Harper’s Weekly (US) 35 8
Leslie’s Weekly (US) 44 3
Illustirte Zeitung (Leipzig) 8 14
L’Illustration (Paris) 10 12

It seems to me that the US was an early adopter of photojournalism, but I suppose it wasn’t worthy enough.

2 thoughts on “Nationalism”

  1. Hi Jeff,
    Just a guess, but that Gis�le Freund may have been
    referring to Erich Solomon’s early use of the
    handheld 35mm camera in newsworthy contexts – the
    unobtrusive, candid intimacy of his work being a
    revelation and looking markedly different from the
    previous products from more deliberate camera’s.
    One book I treasure is Freund’s Three Days with
    Joyce. These are 35mm pictures from an encounter
    she had with Joyce in 1939, including a rare
    portrait of the artist in colour…

  2. Yes, you’re right, Chris. But, she either ignores or wasn’t aware of Jimmy Hare and the Collier’s photographers who were doing the same sort of thing (hidden camera tricks) about a quarter of a century before that in and for a journalistic context. Or, there are the candid street photographs of Arnold Genthe (not for a specifically journalistic context) which were an attempt at such “intimacy” anticipating Solomon again, by around a quarter of a century.
    I don’t deny that Solomon is an important figure– but an inventor of photojournalism? It doesn’t seem very plausible to me.

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