Paul Strand was born in 1890 in New York City, where he studied at the Ethical Culure School under Louis Hine. This is where he developed his interest in photography, and was given his first camera by his father when he was twelve years old. He went on a class fieldtrip to the Photo-Secession Gallery at 291 Fifth Avenue, where exhibitions of work by forward-thinking modernist photographers and painters inspired Strand to take his photographic hobby more seriously. In 1936, Strand helped establish the Photo League in New York. in 1936. Its initial purpose was to provide the radical press with photographs of trade union activities and political protests. Later the group decided to organize local projects where members concentrated on photographing working class communities. In 1945, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held a full-scale retrospective of Strand’s work. Strand also had a strong interest in cinematography. He his first film in 1921 with Charles Sheeler and continued to produce films until 1943, when he decided to devote himself exclusively to still photography. He died in France in 1976.
Over time, Strand developed a direct, sharp, and emotional style of straight photography. Strand’s photography sometimes conceal coordinates, and his images can be difficult for the viewer to discern exactly what it isbevcause it was taken from an unusual and unexpected angle. Taking his inspiration from the Edgar Lee Masters’ 1915 Spoon River Anthology, Paul Strand focused his career on photographing people in small, close-knit communities.He made his regional photographs in widely varied places. Along with taking portraits, Strand also photographed nature and the environment.