"Why did I photograph that white fence up in Port Kent, New York, in 1916? Because the fence itself was fascinating to me. It was very much alive, very American, very much a part of the country . . . " —Paul Strand
"The White Fence . . . a picture, I think, that has etched itself into the pictorial memory of every young photographer who ever saw it, except perhaps for the most insensitive." —John Szarkowski
This hand-pulled dust-grain photogravure is printed by master photogravure printer Jon Goodman and bears the authorized seal of the Paul Strand Archive. The print is accompanied by a text written by poet Robert Creeley. The White Fence, Port Kent, 1916, is one of Paul Strand's best-known images. It followed his New York City photographs, and Strand himself declared it his next step in abstraction and "the basis for all the work" that followed. At the time, taking a simple weathered white picket fence, an ordinary object, and making it the subject of a photograph was not only a move away from the Pictorialist movement, but also a groundbreaking one. Its subject matter, combined with its composition, makes it a pivotal image in the history of photography.
Paul Strand (born in New York, 1890; died in Orgeval, France, 1976) is one of the great photographers of the twentieth century. As a youth, he studied under Lewis Hine at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, going on to draw acclaim from such illustrious sources as Alfred Stieglitz. After World War II, Strand traveled around the world—from New England to Ghana, France to the Outer Hebrides—to photograph, and in the process created a dynamic and significant body of work.
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