Ordinary Miracles: The Photo League’s New York

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In Woodstock June 30
Sun 2pm  $10
 
(US/2012/dir by Nina Roseblum & Daniel Allentuck in association with Mary Engel)
UR /75 mins
 In Person: Nina Rosenblum & Daniel Allentuck… presented in collaboration with The Center for Photography Woodstock
In the 1930s and ’40s the Photo League had a profound influence on American photography.
Twelve years in the making, this is the story of the life and times of the legendary organization of amateur and professional photographers that flourished in NYC during the dark days of the 1930s and up til 1951. The League was the brainchild of two City College dropouts, Sol Libsohn and Sid Grossman. Inspired by the work of Lewis Hine and the photographers of the Farm Security Administration and with guidance from Paul Strand, Berenice Abbott and Beaumont Newhall, the Photo League’s portrait of urban life during these turbulent years makes an indelible impression. The film weaves a selection of images culled from hundreds made by approximately 60 photographers into sequences around themes such as Harlem, Pitt St, subways, kids, Coney Island, WWII. One rare sequence has the press photographer Weegee explaining how to photograph a murder… And there are interviews with 12 former league members filmed at a 50th anniversary luncheon.  Its progressive agenda and sensibility made it a victim of the cold war witch hunt: in 1949 a government stooge accused Grossman of being a Red, and by 1951 the league had collapsed. (Campbell Scott narrates)
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