New York City, teeming with action and iconic architecture, has often played the role of a photographer’s muse. Post-war photographer Todd Webb was not immune to its charm.
Freshly discharged from the Navy after World War II, Webb landed in New York, and his love of the city fueled his career as a full-time photographer. His images show the city in black and white and playfully juxtapose a formal aesthetic view with delightful snapshots of daily life in New York. The photos hold the city still: there are wide-angle shots of a smoky Midtown, a train speeding through Harlem, and sharply dressed urban dwellers that ground the work in a strong sense of place and neighborhood.
In the new exhibit "A City Seen: Todd Webb's Postwar New York, 1945–1960" at the Museum of the City of New York, there's a photograph titled simply 123rd Street, Harlem. It's an exterior shot of a storefront window with a handwritten sign that reads as follows: tailor is dead. H. Reid. but business will be carried on as usual by son. W. Reid.
Like so many of us do today, Todd Webb learned about a new city through the viewfinder of his camera—although back in 1945, his camera was hardly pocket-sized. Freshly discharged from the U.S. Navy following World War II, Webb landed in New York and, shouldering his heavy photography equipment, began to explore both the city and a fledgling career as a professional photographer.
The artist Georgia O’Keeffe in the kitchen of her home on the Ghost Ranch, in Abiquiú, New Mexico, in 1962.
I See a City: Todd Webb’s New York focuses on the work of photographer Todd Webb produced in New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. Webb photographed the city day and night, in all seasons and in all weather. Buildings, signage, vehicles, the passing throngs, isolated figures, curious eccentrics, odd corners, windows, doorways, alleyways, squares, avenues, storefronts, uptown, and downtown, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Harlem.
Todd Webb’s photographs of postwar New York depict the warmth and diversity of the city. He studied under Ansel Adams, and his beautiful black and white shots reflect that influence. The Museum of the City of New York is hosting a retrospective of his work, Todd Webb: A City Seen until 4 September.
In 1945, 40-year-old Todd Webb was discharged from the Navy and moved to New York City.
Webb had cycled through a litany of professions before his service in the war. He settled on photography after taking a class with Ansel Adams and meeting with Alfred Stieglitz on his way through the city in 1942.
Born in 1905 and raised in Detroit, American street photographer Todd Webb led an adventurous life. After losing his money in the Stock Market Crash of 1929, he spent time fruitlessly prospecting for gold until returning to his hometown and picking up a camera in 1938. It was there he found his calling.
К тому времени, как Тодд Уэбб (Todd Webb) появился в Нью-Йорке в 1945, событий в его жизни хватило бы на несколько жизней «обычных» людей. Он разорился в депрессию 1929 года; искал золото в Калифорнии, Мексике и Панаме; работал на заводе «Крайслер» в своём родном Детройте; учился у Ансела Адамса(Ansel Adams) и Харри Кэллахана (Harry Callahan); служил фотографом во флоте в Океании во время войны. Но именно в Нью-Йорке его страсть к фотографии стала развиваться по-настоящему, хотя и не без окольных путей.
Two exhibitions have just opened in New York to celebrate the work of the late American photographer, Todd Webb. After honing his skills as a Navy photographer in the South Pacific during World War II, the Michigan photographer moved to New York in 1946, where he dedicated himself to photographing the everyday life and architecture of a city that captivated him. Armed with a large format camera and tripod, he walked around engaging with the people and the landscape surrounding him.
“I instantly fell in love with Webb’s work,” says former LIFE editor-in-chief Bill Shapiro, “with the beauty he captures, with his sense of the life of the street; with the way he frames both the sweeping, iconic skyline and those small, fleeting moments that define the city that New Yorkers love.”
The Museum of the City of New York has revived a 1946 exhibition of photographs by Todd Web that show the city “not as a glittering megalopolis, but as a community”, as the curator Beaumont Newhall wrote in a press release over 70 years ago. A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York, 1945-60 (until 24 September) includes over 100 pictures by the Detroit-born artist who, after serving as a photographer for the US Navy in the South Pacific during the Second World War, moseyed to the Big Apple in 1945 and rubbed elbows with artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Walker Evans and Berenice Abbott.
In 1946, Todd Webb moved to New York City and began photographing the city that he saw. Webb had been training his eye for nearly a decade. After buying a camera in 1938, he completed a workshop with famed photographer Ansel Adams in 1940 before shipping out to the South Pacific, where he served as a U.S. Navy photographer in the Second World War.
Webb brought his large-format camera and tripod with him around the city, photographing the everyday people and the built landscapes of New York. These photographs reached the public in his first exhibition, "I See a City," which opened in September 1946 at the Museum of the City of New York.
The exhibition opening today at the Museum of the City of New York is not Todd Webb’s first show there—that took place in 1946, when Webb was only a year into a new career as a professional photographer. That career followed several others—he had been a stockbroker before the Great Depression, and served in the Navy during World War II. But in photography he found a long term calling, and New York City was his long term subject.
Todd Webb, one of the heroes of New York photography whose images of the city and people have helped create our collective memory of the place—and who was a lesser sung contemporary of Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Beaumont Newhall, and other essential artists and curators of the modernist movement—is getting a retrospective a the Museum of the City of New York, opening today.
The photographs arrived at The Curator Gallery in a box meant for curator Bill Shapiro, the former editor of Life magazine. When he saw the first few pictures, the curator wondered if he could possibly be looking at the work of a Life photographer he didn’t recognize. He had never heard of the man behind the hundred-some images inside the box.
Todd Webb had been a stockbroker, a gold prospector, a fire ranger, and a military man. But once the war was over and he moved to New York City – sharing an apartment with photographer Harry Callahan – it didn’t take him long to make a remarkable circle of friends: Walker Evans, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Gordon Parks, Berenice Abbott, and on and on. Webb shot the iconic and idiosyncratic sides of New York, both her sweeping skylines as well those tiny, fleeting moments that define life in the City.
Todd Webb's photographs of New York, post-World War II, will be on exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York and The Curator Gallery from April 20.
After World War II, he chronicled the street life and streetscapes of New York City with a large format camera, traveling across 125th Street, down the length of the Third Avenue El, around the Lower East Side and to places in between. He captured “The Traffic Outrage” of “congestion” on the Avenue of the Americas for Fortune Magazine in 1946. He studied with Ansel Adams and became friends with photographers and artists such as Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Berenice Abbott, and Gordon Parks.
NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of the City of New York presents A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York 1945-1960, a photography exhibition highlighting Todd Webb’s personal exploration of the city that enthralled him while providing an expansive visual documentation of New York in the years following World War II. A City Seen opens to the public on Thursday, April 20 and will remain on view through Monday, September 4, 2017.
For his relative lack of fame, Todd Webb, an American photographer who spent much of the middle of the 20th century documenting the residents and buildings of New York and Paris, had no shortage of well-known friends and colleagues. In his intimate ranks were Walker Evans, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gordon Parks, Ansel Adams, and Alfred Stieglitz, among others. Though he was recognized among certain cognoscenti during his most active years, Webb, whose biography reads like a work of adventure fiction, had plenty to distract him from the trifles of stardom—including time spent as a fire ranger for the U.S. Forestry Service, naval photographer in World War II, gold prospector in Panama, and resident of, in turn, Provence, France; Bath, England; and Portland, Maine.
Over 70 years after his first exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, photographer Todd Webb is getting his second one. The posthumous celebration of his work comes with a smaller showing in Chelsea, at The Curator Gallery; both shows open on April 20th. Webb's photos are stunning, and his list of fans and supporters of the time are well-known—Alfred Stieglitz, Berenice Abbott, Georgia O’Keeffe—but had you ever heard of him? I hadn't, nor had anyone I asked, including former LIFE Magazine editor-in-chief Bill Shapiro, who curated the upcoming exhibit in Chelsea.
Todd Webb was a Michigan-born photographer who spent his life photographing everyday existence in New York, the American Southwest, and Paris. Though not as well-known as some of his contemporaries, he has been compared to photographers like Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, and Walker Evans, the famed chronicler of Depression-era rural America.
Now, 70 years after his first exhibit at Museum of the City of New York, Webb is getting his second exhibition in conjunction with another at Curator Gallery. As a newly discharged Navy veteran, Webb (1905-2000) moved to New York in 1945 to dedicate a year to photographing the city. Armed with a large format camera and tripod, he worked relentlessly and the year turned into several decades. Webb’s images captured the city’s contrasts—from Midtown’s skyscrapers to the Lower East Side’s tenements, from high-powered businessmen in the Financial District to the remnants of old ethnic enclaves in Lower Manhattan.
By the time Todd Webb arrived in New York City in 1945, he’d lived enough lives for several men. He had lost his fortune in the 1929 crash; hunted for gold in California, Mexico and Panama; worked for Chrysler in his hometown, Detroit; and served in the South Pacific as a photographer’s mate first class. But it was in New York City that his love of photography took off, albeit with a slight detour.
In 1942, on his way to report for duty in the United States Navy, Mr. Webb passed through New York to meet with Dorothy Norman, the manager of Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery, An American Place. He sold three of his photos to her before shipping off to war, only to return in 1945. A year later, he had his first exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, where he is now having a homecoming in “A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York, 1945-1960,” which opens on April 20. (The day before, “Down Any Street: Todd Webb’s Photographs of New York, 1946-1960” will open at The Curator Gallery in Chelsea.)
By the time Todd Webb arrived in New York City in 1945, he had lived enough lives for several men. He lost his fortune in the 1929 crash; hunted for gold in California, Mexico and Panama; worked for Chrysler in Detroit, his hometown; and served in the South Pacific as a photographer’s mate. But it was in New York where his love of photography took off, though with a slight detour.
In 1942, on his way to report for duty in the Navy, Mr. Webb passed through New York to meet with the manager of Alfred Stieglitz’s gallery, An American Place. He sold three of his photos before shipping off to war. A year after he returned, in 1945, he had his first exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, where he is now having a homecoming in “A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York 1945-1960,” which opens on April 20.
Following World War II, Detroit-born Navy photographer Todd Webb moved to New York City and took pictures of the city’s residents, booming waterfront, and rising skyline. Webb’s pictures show a city alive with hope, industry, and peace. But what does it mean to capture the spirit of a city? And why has Webb’s oeuvre faded from public view compared to his peers? A panel of authors and curators examines the world of street photography in the 1940s and 50s -- and Webb’s legacy within it. Presented in conjunction with A City Seen: Todd Webb's Post War New York, 1945-1960 (exhibition opens April 20).
Daniel Okrent, author of Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center (2004); contributor to a forthcoming book on Webb
Julia Van Haaften, independent curator and author of books about photography, including a forthcoming biography of Berenice Abbott
Sean Corcoran (moderator), Curator of Prints and Photographs, Museum of the City of New York
$20 for adults | $15 for seniors, students & educators (with ID) | $10 for Museum members. Includes Museum admission.
Come see Todd Webb's prints at the Brooklyn Museum's exhibit on the life of Georgia O'Keeffe; Living Modern.
Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern takes a new look at how the renowned modernist artist proclaimed her progressive, independent lifestyle through a self-crafted public persona—including her clothing and the way she posed for the camera. The exhibition expands our understanding of O'Keeffe by focusing on her wardrobe, shown for the first time alongside key paintings and photographs. It confirms and explores her determination to be in charge of how the world understood her identity and artistic values.
In addition to selected paintings and items of clothing, the exhibition presents photographs of O’Keeffe and her homes by Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, Philippe Halsman, Yousuf Karsh, Cecil Beaton, Andy Warhol, Bruce Weber, Todd Webb, and others. It also includes works that entered the Brooklyn collection following O’Keeffe’s first-ever museum exhibition—held at the Brooklyn Museum in 1927.
On Wednesday, April 19, a solo exhibition curated by Bill Shapiro entitled Down Any Street: Todd Webb’s Photographs of New York 1946-1960 will open at The Curator Gallery, a commercial gallery space located in the heart of New York’s Chelsea art district. The gallery show will include vintage prints as well as modern prints made by John Hill, a printer/designer who served as the executor of Walker Evans' estate.
520 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011
April 20th - September 4th
A photographer's exploration of New York City in the years following World War II.
A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York, 1945-1960 examines New York through the eyes—and lens—of photographer Todd Webb. Featuring more than 100 images, accompanied by entries from Webb’s own journal, the exhibition highlights Todd Webb’s personal exploration of the city that enthralled him while providing an expansive document of New York in the years following World War II.
Todd Webb: New York, 1946
Journal Entries by Todd Webb
Edited and with an Introduction by John Stauffer
Photographs by Todd Webb
15 bound and 3 loose Estate platinum prints
Plus 2 vintage silver prints that were printed and signed by Todd Webb
Edition: 37 copies
13.5 x 13.5 inches
Handcrafted in New England
This title is a remarkable story told through Todd Webb's journal entries. Webb's association with Alfred Stieglitz was an intimate one, as his was with Berenice Abbot, Beaumont Newhall, Harry and Eleanor Callahan (housemates), Georgia O'Keefe, and others. 1946 was an auspicious year that saw the deaths of Stieglitz, Gertrude Stein, Joseph Stella, Arthur Dove, and Moholy-Nagy. This is a rare look into New York, the life of Webb, and those in his circle that have defined the standard for a great photograph, then and now.
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OGUNQUIT, Maine — “Todd Webb: Georgia O’Keeffe & the American West” has a rather grand title. That it’s not a grand-scale show constitutes much of its charm and merit. It runs through Sept. 27 at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.
The exhibition consists of just 20 photographs, all black- and-white, taken between 1961 and 1977. Only 14 actually include O’Keeffe. The others are of the painter’s beloved Ghost Ranch and her home and studio, in Abiquiu, N.M. It’s pleasing to note that the studio is as spare and desert-clean as O’Keefe’s art.
These stunning photographs show a lost vision of New York City, where streetcars barreled down Third Avenue, the Empire State Building was the tallest in town - and five cents could get you a a bag of fresh-roasted peanuts.
Taken by photographer Todd Webb in 1946, the collection of 15 black and white images show the then-bustling docks of Manhattan, the skyline as it was before glass-clad skyscrapers rose up in decades to come - and the people who called the city home.