“In the mid-1930s, as her writing career was just starting to take off, Eudora Welty thought she might become a photographer. As a junior publicity agent for the Works Progress Administration, she had traveled around rural Mississippi taking pictures of people coping with the Depression. In letters and while visiting New York, she lobbied publishers and photographers (including Berenice Abbott) in the hope of gaining exposure for her words and images. In 1936 Welty got her chance: her short story ‘Death of a Traveling Salesman’ was published in Manuscript magazine, and a solo exhibition of her Mississippi photographs was presented at the photographic galleries of Lugene Opticians on Madison Avenue. But eventually she gave up photography to focus on her writing. (Sometime in the 1950s she left her camera on a bench in the Paris Métro and never allowed herself to replace it.)…
“From one photograph to the next we sense a young artist and writer honing her eye and voice. ‘Making pictures of people in all sorts of situations, I learned that every feeling waits upon its gesture, and I had to be prepared to recognize this moment when I saw it,’ she later wrote in the memoir ‘One Writer’s Beginnings.’ ‘These were things a story writer needed to know.'” (via Karen Rosenberg, NY Times)
“Eudora Welty in New York: Photographs of the Early 1930s,” Museum of the City of New York, New York, NY. Through Feb. 16.
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