The Family, Luzzara





© Paul Strand

After looking at multiple photographs by Paul Strand, this particular photograph had an effect on me because the attitude of all of the men.  All of the men display troubled looks and disinterest with the camera through their body language and facial expressions. Their clothing is similar as well.  They all seem to be lower to middle class, struggling to get by, most likely around the time of the Depression.  Four of the men reside near or beside the doorstep.  It comes off as if they are protecting what’s inside, perhaps the woman who is smiling for the camera, yet also looking out for each other.  The photo represents hard times, but to me something else shines through the darkness and that is camaraderie.  These men are struggling, but at least they are struggling together.

Perhaps Strand captured this particular moment to convey the spirit and draw a connection to many people in New York who were going through similar hardships at the time.  New York was the home of the majority of Jews during the time, Strand included.  The inter-war period was one of the most anti-semetic times in history here in the United States, making it an especially difficult time for Jews. One of Strand’s goals as a photographer in New York was to capture candid photos of people on the street, for example Jewish patriarchs, peddlers, street vendors, homeless people, etc. He wanted so badly to convey the true nature of New York common people that he went around with a fake lens, creating the illusion he was taking a photo in one direction while really he was taking the photo in another (  The power of a group is so powerful and necessary to overcome hardships and adversity, and through this photograph Strand has captured the essence of this through a candid shot of New Yorkers.