Productive Arts! run by Howard Garfinkel and Larry Zeman is an essential resource for Russian and Soviet design materials (publications, posters, ephemera) produced by the leaders of the Constructivist, Productivist and Socialist Realist movements. Most recently, they published catalogs on Soviet newspapers and specifically pages designed by montagist Gustav Klutsis. I asked Zeman to discuss the acquisition and significance of this collection.
Almost half a century after World War II, in an abandoned and dust-filled storage shed beside an old photography studio in Esfahan, Iran, Parisa Damandan found a unique collection of stunning Diane Arbus-esque photographs by Abolqasem Jala that are reminders of war in general and World War II’s human displacement. Four years ago, a book of these discoveries, The Children of Esfahan, published in Tehran, were covered in a book about Polish refugees in Iran during the World War II (1942-1945). The following is the book’s introduction by Damandan.
Photography’s role in shaping American identity can be explored from multiple perspectives. These two new books – “Dorothea Lange” and “The Big Picture” – present both the enthusiastic embrace of distinctly American idealism and the devastating results of how such fervor left too many people with nothing.
While in Paris for the holidays, my apartment was only a five minute walk from the Shoah Memorial, a museum devoted to the Holocaust and the French collaboration therewith. I visited often and experienced scores of emotionally charged displays. Yet the exhibit that most captured my attention, “Scenes From the Ghetto,” was comprised of photographs taken surreptitiously by Jewish ghetto residents and officially by sanctioned German military propaganda photographers in color and black and white.