(A retrospective of the prolific career of the "Life" phot...)
A retrospective of the prolific career of the "Life" photographer includes unforgettable pictures and portraits of history and history-makers from MacArthur to William Faulkner.
The family moved to Medford, Massachusetts, on the Mystic River where Carl Mydans went to high school and worked in the local boatyards after school and on weekends.
Carl Mydans later became interested in journalism and worked as a freelance reporter for several local newspapers. In 1930 he graduated from the Boston University School of Journalism. He then moved to New York and, while working as a reporter for the "American Banker," began to study photography at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.
In July 1935 his skill with the new 35mm "miniature" camera landed him a job with the Department of the Interior's Resettlement Administration, which soon merged into the Farm Security Administration (FSA).
Carl Mydans joined Walker Evans and Arthur Rothstein as the core of the remarkable team of photographers assembled by Roy Stryker to document rural America. While traveling through the southern states photographing everything that had to do with cotton, Carl Mydans developed the shooting style he would use throughout his career. He concentrated on people, and he photographed them in a respectful and straightforward manner. As he had been taught to do as a reporter, he kept careful notes on every shot.
When Carl Mydans joined the staff of Life in 1936 he joined a group of photojournalists who were changing the way press photography was done. Photojournalists had traditionally used 4x5 Speed Graphic cameras with flashguns and reflector pans, and their pictures of people tended to look much the same: overlit foregrounds fell off to dark backdrops that had no detail. But Carl Mydans and his colleagues at Life relied on 35mm cameras that allowed them to work with available light, capturing a new kind of excitement and activity in their photographs. Their success with the small camera revolutionized the practice of photojournalism.
In 1938 Carl Mydans went overseas with his wife, Life reporter Shelley Mydans, and began his long career as a war photographer. During the next 30 years, he covered conflicts in Europe, the Far East, and Southeast Asia. In World War II he was a prisoner of the Japanese for 21 months. Always, Carl Mydans focussed his camera on the small human drama that revealed the larger story. He retired from Life in 1972 but continued to work for Time and other magazines.
(A retrospective of the prolific career of the "Life" phot...)1993
(The story of Agnes Keith and her family's three years as ...)1983
The 3rd of 6 members of the Nazi collaborationist Milice (Vichy police) lying dead moments after being shot by a Maquis firing squad, in front of brick factory where 23 patriots were executed by the Germans in July.
Nixon speaking during the Eisenhower Presidential campaign tour
Woman standing on junk boat
Opium smoker holding his government permit
MacArthur on Battlefield at Bataan
Man with basket of fish
Shelling of Walled City
American Occupying Forces in Japan
Carl Mydans called himself a "story-teller with pictures" and always maintained that he did not photograph war because he liked it, but because he thought it was important to make an historic record of his times. "Long after I am gone," he said, "I want people to be able to see and especially feel what I have seen and felt."
"One is not really a photographer until preoccupation with learning has been outgrown and the camera in his hands is an extension of himself. This is where creativity begins."
". .. I think it is fair to say that all war photographers hide behind their cameras. I hid behind mine for years and years and years. It was a shield. .. I think that the photographer in combat has greater protection than the soldier who has a rifle in his hand. That camera has unbelievable protective power."
"We cannot hope to control what we do not understand, nor to confront our adversary, war, with our eyes averted."