Portfolio Naples December 2017 - Page 26

In Paris they were in the center of a circle of expatriates, intellectuals and artists. In the midst of upheaval, gathering war, and personal penury, Stein began taking photographs. He was a pioneer of the small, hand-held camera, and with the Leica which he and his wife had purchased as a joint wed- ding present, he went into the streets to photograph scenes of life in Paris. He saw hope and beauty where most people would only see despair. He also became acquainted with and photographed some of the leading personalities of Europe. When Germany declared war on France in 1939, Stein was put in an internment camp for enemy aliens near Paris. He managed to escape, and after a hazardous clandestine jour- ney through the countryside, met his wife and baby girl in Marseilles, where they obtained visas through the efforts of the International Rescue Committee. On May 7, 1941, the three boarded the S.S. Winnipeg, one of the last boats to leave France. ey carried only the Leica and some negatives. "He truly was a man of vision,and his choice of people and subjects is the obvious proof of it." Willy Brandt Above: Cafe, Paris 1935 Left: ree Chairs, Paris 1937 Opposite page: Le Gaz, Paris 1935 New York was a vibrant center of culture, and Stein seized the opportunity. He met and photographed writers, artists, scientists, politicians, and philosophers whose work he knew through his ex- tensive reading and study. is enabled him to engage them in con- versation during portrait sessions. He continued his fascination with humanity, walking through the streets of New York, documenting life from Fifth Avenue to Harlem. He worked unobtrusively and quickly, valuing the freedom to capture the telling moment that re- veals the subject in its own light, not as incidental material for pho- tographic interpretation. He preferred natural or minimal lighting, and avoided elaborate setups as well as dramatic effects. He did not retouch or manipulate the negative. Having a deep commitment to social equality and a concern for his fellow man, he became a mem- ber of the Photo League. ough portraits were his main income- generating work and he photographed many people on commission, he generally worked without assignment, shooting people and scenes that interested him. He would then offer his work to publishers and photo editors of magazines, newspapers, and books. 24 PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE