Item description for Esther Bubley: On Assignment by Esther Bubley...
This monograph is dedicated to the career of Esther Bubley, one of America's leading photojournalists. Bubley's mentor was Roy Stryker, for whom she worked at the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C., and at Standard Oil in New York City. Under Stryker, Bubley learned to document the spectacle of modern industry and the lives of ordinary people in a fast-changing world. From the early 1940s to the late 60s, she also freelanced for national magazines, producing forty photo-essays for Life, a dozen more for the Ladies' Home Journal's famous series, "How America Lives," and numerous projects for non-profit organizations and major corporations alike. At a time when career options for women were limited, Bubley rose to the top of an overwhelmingly male-dominated field.
The 5,000-word essay by photo historian Bonnie Yochelson explains the working life of a photojournalist during the pre-television era when picture magazines dominated the national media. In collaboration with Yochelson, Tracy Schmid, Archivist of the Bubley estate, and Jean Bubley, Executor of the estate, contribute original research and interviews with Esther's colleagues and contemporaries, highlighting her achievements and accomplishments. The book includes seventy-five of her finest images as well as magazine layouts, which illustrate how Bubley's photographs were originally seen by millions of Americans. While Bubley's talent was well recognized at the time--her work was shown in three Museum of Modern Art exhibitions--she was not a celebrity and did little to promote herself. Having received far less attention than she deserves, this book aims to introduce a selection of her best work to a wider audience.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 11.26" Width: 8.9" Height: 0.71" Weight: 1.9 lbs.
Release Date Apr 15, 2005
ISBN 193178857X ISBN13 9781931788571
Reviews - What do customers think about Esther Bubley: On Assignment?
Quiet professionalism Apr 16, 2006
Esther Bubley was a late joiner to Roy Stryker's small team of FSA/OWI photographers who captured the Depression and war years with such compassion and honesty. I first saw her work in 'Documenting America 1935-1943' (ISBN 0520062213) with nineteen photos of a cross-country Greyhound bus trip taken in 1943. This was her first and last major assignment for the OWI before Stryker left for Standard Oil in 1943, she joined him in 1944.
In 1947 she photographed another Greyhound bus journey and the five photos in the book show why I think her work is exceptional. They show passengers waiting in a New York bus terminal but you are there too, sitting in a seat opposite two ladies talking (page twenty) or opposite the mother with two children (page twenty-four). Somehow these public photos draw the viewer into them without intruding on the privacy of those being photographed. Looking through the pages I think nearly all her photos have a bit of this intriguing quality.
The surprise in the book, for me anyway, are the 1952 Charlie Parker jam session photos. Bubley was a friend of David Stone Martin, the graphic artist who created the album cover look for Norman Grantz's jazz record labels. Martin asked her to photograph the session so he could use the work as reference for his cover art. (Her 314 studio shots were published in a 1995 book, 'Charlie Parker', in France).
The book is arranged chronologically with Bonnie Yochelson's sympathetic essay running through the various photo chapters. A nice touch is the inclusion of several small reproductions of magazine spreads from Pageant, Ladies Home Journal and in particular Life showing how Bubley's photos were used. Design of the book is excellent and the printing (with 200 dpi) gives the photos great clarity.
Esther Bubley was a great photojournalist who quietly got on with her work with honesty and integrity. This book celebrates her professionalism.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
An emotional, vivid, and exquisitely memorable monograph Aug 14, 2005
On Assignment is a collection of black-and-white and a few color photographs by Esther Bubley, one of America's leading photojournalists who free-lanced for national magazines from the 1940's to the 1960's. Enhanced with a narrative essay describing the working and daily life of a photojournalist in an era before television became as prolific as it is today, On Assignment is remarkable in how its images perfectly capture the subjects, from stills depicting a life-saving emergency tracheotomy to work at a Pepsi-cola refinery to the gracious opportunity for a rare portraits around the home allowed to her by renowned genius Albert Einstein. An emotional, vivid, and exquisitely memorable monograph.