The Art of Documentary Photography

Alex Harris and Jefferson Hunter discuss documentary photography. With the rise of magazines such as Life and Look in the 1930s and 1940s, documentary photography achieved a degree of influence upon modern American art and culture. Photographer and writer pairs such as Margaret Bourke-White and Erskine Caldwell, and Walker Evans and James Agee produced words and pictures that combined art and politics, aesthetics and social issues. This tradition continues today in the work of Gene Smith, Bruce Davidson, and Alex Harris.

At the time of this conversation, Harris was director of the Center for Documentary Photography at Duke University. Hunter, a Fellow at the National Humanities Center (1984-85), was professor of English at Smith College.

This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.

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