New York

Humphrey Spender

Prakapas Gallery

Humphrey Spender is another photographer new to America. This is his first show here, even though he did his work as a photographer between 40 and 50 years ago. Spender, brother of poet Stephen Spender, was a British photojournalist who signed on in 1937 as “official” photographer for the Mass Observation project. This was a sociological study of everyday life in England begun by a group of artists and intellectuals. Under its aegis, Spender became a one-man Farm Security Administration in the “black” town of Bolton in the industrial north. This was the region of George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier, and most of the photographs come from here. Like the best F.S.A. photographers, Spender not only showed his country folk an aspect of their national life that they could not otherwise have seen, he showed it to them from the inside. He used his candid camera to get under the grimy skin of

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