Eudora Welty, Photographer

Who knew Eudora Welty was a photographer. Who guessed she was a great photographer. The Museum of the City of New York has mounted an exhibition, Eudora Welty in New York: Photographs of the Early 1930s.

Eudora Welty (1909-2001) is acknowledged as one of the great authors of the twentieth century and in more recent years her talent as a photographer has been recognized.  Eudora Welty in New York: Photographs of the Early 1930s features 50 black-and-white photographs from her home state of Mississippi that constitute a near complete re-creation of her first solo exhibition held in 1936 at the Photographic Galleries of Lugene Opticians in New York City. The recreation is supplemented with eleven of Welty’s photographs taken in New York City. Together these photographs capture America in the depths of the Great Depression revealing a compassion and sensitivity towards her subject that also became a hallmark of her writing.

The exhibit is part of the Eudora Welty Centennial celebration. If you can’t make it to MCNY, you can read a great review from the New York Times.

From one photograph to the next we sense a young artist and writer honing her eye and voice. “Making pictures of people in all sorts of situations, I learned that every feeling waits upon its gesture, and I had to be prepared to recognize this moment when I saw it,” she later wrote in the memoir One Writer’s Beginnings. “These were things a story writer needed to know.”

Eudora Welty as Photographer is scheduled to be published this spring by the University Press of Mississippi.

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~ by David Cupp on January 15, 2009.

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