Founded in 1935 as a split from The Film and Photo League, The New York Photo League consisted of early pioneers in the documentary photography field. The Photo League members were for the most part working class New Yorkers from the lower east side, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. They were very purposeful in their mission to use art to effect social change. As described by Stephen Daiter in the book This Was the Photo League, “The organization had three interrelated purposes: educational—providing lectures, darkrooms, and classes on history, techniques, and aesthetics; social—using documentary photography to effect social change; and aesthetic—developing and promoting photography as a fine art.” Novice and professional photographers alike used their camera lens to artistically capture a defining moment in our nation’s history as well as make statements on the social and economic climate of the era.
The Photo League was one of the most influential photography movements of the twentieth century but was surrounded in controversy and conjecture. It is also paradoxically one of the least known contributors in the history of photography. The exhibition acted as an educational piece for students and community members who were not familiar with its historical significance and the role it plays in contemporary documentary photography.
The Photo League exhibition toured in collaboration with the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio.
Shout Freedom! Educational Resources
Educational resources developed by the Columbus Museum of Art for this exhibition include background information, activities, video interviews, and more.
Past Exhibition Dates
Muskegon Museum of Art
8/26 – 11/7/2010
Ball State University Museum of Art
1/21 – 3/20/2011
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art
Cedar Rapids, IA
5/21 – 9/4/2011