Fleeing fascism, war, and persecution, numerous European artists and photographers came to the United States during the mass emigrations of the 1930s and 1940s. These émigrés brought with them a variety of artistic traditions and different perspectives on issues such as class, politics, and race, which dramatically affected American photography from the 1930s and the 1960s.
Reframing America explores the artistic and social visions of seven European émigré photographers who helped shape a new photography and a startling new vision of this country: Alexander Alland, Robert Frank, John Gutmann, Otto Hagel, Hansel Mieth, Lisette Model, and Marion Palfi. Among them, they depicted an America that was more complex and diverse and more deeply troubled than photography had ever shown before.
With remarkable power and insight, their imagery engaged some of the quintessential American themes of the era: the emerging cult of the automobile, Hollywood's glamorous and fictional America, the culture of jazz, and capitalism's blaring commercialism. Their accomplishments foreshadowed and influenced the work of such figures as William Klein, Diane Arbus, Bruce Davidson, and W. Eugene Smith.