Mar 21, 2006

Lathe, Akeley Shop, New York

Lathe, Akeley Shop, New York


Paul Strand

(American, 1890–1976)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 24.4 x 19.3 cm (9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1984.34



For a brief period during the first half of the 1920s, Strand created a remarkable group of precisionist photographs, close-up portraits of the Akeley Motion Picture Camera, machine gears, and in this picture, the lathe in the Akeley machine shop. All are studies of the modern machine, not just as a mechanical object, but as a form with dynamic aesthetic qualities. Relating to the European avant-garde of the 1910s, this photograph eloquently expresses Strand’s preoccupation with the surface, form, and volume of mechanical objects. Precisely cropped and lit, the energetic composition is a cavalcade of different geometric shapes, all pristinely rendered.

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