Call for Entries - All About Photo Awards 2020

Marion Post Wolcott

Country: United States | Born: 1910 - Died: 1990

Marion Post (later Marion Post Wolcott) (June 7, 1910 - November 24, 1990) was a noted American photographer who worked for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression documenting poverty and deprivation. She was born in New Jersey. Her parents split up and she was sent to boarding school, spending time at home with her mother in Greenwich Village when not at school. Here she met many artists and musicians and became interested in dance. She studied at The New School.

She trained as a teacher, and went to work in a small town in Massachusetts. Here she saw the reality of the Depression and the problems of the poor. When the school closed she went to Europe to study with her sister Helen. Helen was studying with Trude Fleischmann, a Viennese photographer. Marion showed Fleischmann some of her photographs and was told to stick to photography. While in Vienna she saw some of the Nazi attacks on the Jewish population and was horrified. Soon she and her sister had to return to America for safety. She went back to teaching but also continued her photography and became involved in the anti-fascist movement. At the New York Photo League she met Ralph Steiner and Paul Strand who encouraged her.

When she found that the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin kept sending her to do "ladies' stories," Ralph Steiner took her portfolio to show Roy Stryker, head of the Farm Security Administration, and Paul Strand wrote a letter of recommendation. Stryker was impressed by her work and hired her immediately. Her photographs for the FSA often explore the political aspects of poverty and deprivation. They also often find humour in the situations she encountered. In 1941 she met Lee Wolcott. When she had finished her assignments for the FSA she married him, and later had to fit in her photography around raising a family and a great deal of travelling and living overseas.

Source: Wikipedia


A biographical sketch by Linda Wolcott-Moore:

"As an FSA documentary photographer, I was committed to changing the attitudes of people by familiarizing America with the plight of the underprivileged, especially in rural America... FSA photographs shocked and aroused public opinion to increase support for the New Deal policies and projects, and played an important part in the social revolution of the 30s", said Marion Post Wolcott.

Beginning in September of 1938, Wolcott spent three and a half years photographing in New England, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. A photographic pioneer on America's ragged economic frontier, Wolcottt survived illness, bad weather, rattlesnakes, skepticism about a woman traveling alone and the sometimes hostile reaction of her subjects in order to fulfill her assignments from the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Unique among FSA photographers, Wolcott showed the extremes of the country's rich and poor in the late 30's, its race relations, and the fertile land formed with government assistance, which revealed the benefits of federal subsidies. Her work has a formal control, emotional reticence and keen wit.(...) Marion Post entered the 20th Century on June 7, 1910, one of two daughters of Marion (Nan) Hoyt Post and Dr. Walter Post. The Posts were a prominent family in Montclair, New Jersey where Dr. Post was the local physician, a homeopathist, in those days, the leading type of medicine. The Posts ended their marriage when Marion was a young teenager, and she and sister Helen were packed off to boarding school. At Edgewood School in Greenwich, Connecticut, removed from the trials of her parents’ bitter and heart-rending divorce, Marion thrived in a progressive atmosphere which fostered open inquiry, flexibility and individuality.

Throughout those early years, she also had a very close, loving relationship with the Post’s black housekeeper, Reasie, a relationship that gave Marion an ease and empathy with the blacks she would later photograph in the fields and juke joints of the deep South. On weekends and in the summer--whenever possible--she spent time with her mother, Nan, in her tiny Greenwich Village apartment in New York City. Nan was working with Margaret Sanger helping to set up health and birth control clinics around the country, a pioneer in her own right and an inspiration to Marion. In "The Village," mother and daughter hung out with musicians, artists, writers and members of the theatrical crowd, went to art exhibits, lectures and concerts, and after graduation from Edgewood, Marion fell in love with, and began studying, modern dance. At the same time she was working her way through school as a teacher of young children, pursuing her interest in early childhood education at the New School for Social Research, and then at New York University.

As the Great Depression began to impact the working people around her, she witnessed dramatic class differences among those living in the small Massachusetts town where she was then teaching.(...) Soon after, in 1932, Marion traveled to Europe to study dance in Paris, and later, child psychology at the University of Vienna. There she met Trude Fleischmann, a Viennese photographer with whom her sister Helen was studying. Upon seeing Marion's first photographic images, Trude encouraged her to continue. "Sis," you've got a good eye," she exclaimed, a line Marion Post would never forget, although she was quite reticent about encroaching upon the territory of her sister, Helen, long considered the artist in the family. Meanwhile, a horrified young Marion and Helen were witnessing the rise of Nazism and Fascism in Europe. Of their friends, again many were musicians, artists, and young intellectuals. Many also were Jewish, and Marion watched as swastikas burned in front of the homes of her anti-Nazi friends, and their fields and fences were set ablaze. She was further rocked by the assassination, during the winter of 1933-34, of Austrian Chancelor Dolfuss and the bombing of apartments of socialist workers near Vienna. Lending a hand, she spent several months working in the local schools with the children of Austrian workers. It was too dangerous, however, for her to stay; the University of Vienna had been closed, and Marion was told either to return home or give up her small allowance. Back in the States, she took a teaching position at the progressive Hessian Hills School at Croton-on-Hudson.

Here she began taking more photographs and making her first prints. Close to New York, she also became active in the League Against War and Fascism, and, together with Helen, helped Jews, including Trude Fleischmann, leave Europe and immigrate to the United States. She had friends in the socially and politically concerned Group Theatre who became both subjects and clients, and she published her first work in Stage Magazine. Encouraged by her progress, a year later, at twenty-five, Marion moved to New York and began freelancing, even landing a picture on the cover of the New York Times Magazine. She also began attending meetings of the New York Photo League, an important organization that was influencing many of the country's best young photographers. There Marion met Ralph Steiner and Paul Strand who, upon seeing her work, asked her to join a group of serious young photographers who met at Steiner's apartment to discuss and critique each other's photography.(...)

Needing more certain wages, Marion accepted a position as a staff photographer for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. As a young woman, however, she was required to do stories on the latest fashion and events for the ladies' page, hardly compelling assignments for a young woman of 25 with her background and experiences! Mentioning her frustrations to Ralph Steiner one day, he took her portfolio with him to Washington, to Roy Stryker, head of the Farm Security Administration. Stryker was impressed, asked to meet her. So, armed with letters of recommendation from no less than Paul Strand and Ralph Steiner, Marion Post set off for Washington. She was hired immediately, and joined the ranks of the other FSA photographers, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, and Arthur Rothstein, among them. From 1938 through 1941, Marion produced many of the most vividly moving of the more than 100,000 images in the FSA archives, reflecting her many years of social and political involvement, her strength and independence, and her deep sensitivity to the children and families of the less fortunate. The Farm Security Administration had been mandated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to assist American farmers who had suffered grievously during the Depression. Families were stranded and starving; soil was worn out, unfit for production.(...)

Segregation and discrimination; humiliation and condescension; labor movements; eroded, worn-out land; dirty, sick, malnourished children; overcrowded schools. She traveled primarily alone, got tired and lonely and sick and burned out. She had to wrap her camera in hot water bottles to keep the shutters from freezing; write captions at night in flimsy motel rooms while fending off the men trying to enter through the transoms; deal with southern social workers, suspicious cops, chiggers and mosquitoes; mud, heat, and humidity.(...)

In 1941, Marion met the man she wanted to marry--Lee Wolcott, a handsome, bright assistant to Henry Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture under President Roosevelt. Marion completed her assignments and left the FSA in order to raise a family, tend their farms, and later to live and travel extensively overseas. Both passionate, eager, curious, intellectual, they developed interesting modern art and music collections; had interesting, involved friends; were deeply committed to the raising and educating of four accomplished children, and with mentoring their grandchildren. Although she did not again work as a "professional," largely due to the demands of family and overseas living and traveling, she captured numerous serious images of farming in rural Virginia, and later in Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. Upon returning to the States, she taught and photographed American Indian children in New Mexico, did a series on the ‘70’s counter-culture in Isla Vista, California, and in Mendocino, California. She also was actively involved with the photography communities in both San Francisco and Santa Barbara where she helped, encouraged, and inspired, and was loved by many younger artists, worked with museum and gallery curators, and, in the 80’s, at the urging of the same, undertook a massive project to produce an archive of fine prints of her work of both the FSA and later years.(...)

Letter from Paul Strand:

"Dear Roy
It gives me pleasure to give this note of introduction to Marion Post because I know her work well. She is a young photographer of considerable experience who has made a number of very good photographs on social themes in the South and elsewhere... I feel that if you have any place for a conscientious and talented photographer, you will do well to give her an opportunity."

--Paul Strand 6-20-38

Marion's favorite image:

"I guess if I had to pick one, just one, favorite image, it would be the Negro Man Going Up the Stairs of the Movie Theatre. I think it says the most about me, about what I was trying to do and trying to say." (Conversation with her daughter, Linda)

Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
Marion Post Wolcott
The Photographs of Marion Post Wolcott
Author: Marion Post Wolcott
Publisher: The Library of Congress, Giles
Year: 2008 - Pages: 64
This book is part of a completely new photography series, featuring The Library of Congress’ internationally renowned collection of Farm Security Administration (FSA) and Office of War Information (OWI) photographs which provide a unique view of American life during the Great Depression and Second World War. Fields of Vision: The Photographs of Marion Post Wolcott includes an introduction to her life and 50 evocative images selected from her work, offering a glimpse of her inspiring and experimental style that became far more than reportage.
 
Photo LA
Sponsored Link
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Jack Delano
Nationality: United States
Born: 1914 - Died: 1997

Jack Delano (August 1, 1914 – August 12, 1997) was an American photographer for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) and a composer noted for his use of Puerto Rican folk material. Delano was born as Jacob Ovcharov in Voroshilovka village, Podolie Governorate, near Vinnytsia, Russian Empire and moved, with his parents and younger brother, to the United States in 1923. The family arrived at New York on July 5, 1923 on the boat SS Homeric. Between 1924 and 1932 he (…)
Jack Delano
Jack Delano
Jack Delano
Jack Delano
Jack Delano
Jack Delano
Jack Delano
Jack Delano
 
Lucien Clergue
Nationality: France
Born: 1934 - Died: 2014

Lucien Clergue was born in Arles. From the age of 7, he learned to play the violin. Several years later, his teacher revealed to him that he had nothing more to teach him. From a family of shopkeepers, he could not pursue further studies in a conservatory. In 1949, he learned the rudiments of photography. Four years later, at a corrida in Arles, he showed his photographs to Pablo Picasso who, though subdued, demanded to see others. Within a year and a half, young (…)
Lucien Clergue
Lucien Clergue
Lucien Clergue
Lucien Clergue
Lucien Clergue
Lucien Clergue
Lucien Clergue
Lucien Clergue
 
Anais Perry
Nationality: France/Germany
Born: 1986
I was born in Burgundy, France where I also grew up. For the study of Photojournalism at the Hochschule Hannover I moved to Germany. After 2 years, I changed to the HAW Hamburg to develop a more personal photography. The studies of Communication Design with the focus on photography offered me the possibility to discover a large scale of this art and to construct an own picture language. 2013 I earned the BA of Photography in the Class of Prof. Vincent Kohlbecher and Prof Ute (…)
Anais Perry
Anais Perry
Anais Perry
Anais Perry
Anais Perry
Anais Perry
Anais Perry
Anais Perry
 
Szymon Barylski
Nationality: Poland
Born: 1984
Szymon Barylski Polish freelance photographer born in 1984 based in Ireland. He has been published, among others, The Irish Times, National Geographic Poland, The Eye of Photography, Edge of Humanity Magazine. He has had a number of exhibitions in many countries including 3rd Documentary Photography Days in Istambul, MIFA Photography, The SE Centre for Photography- Documentary Photography. His pictures were awarded in many competitions. Szymon is involved in documentary (…)
Szymon Barylski
Szymon Barylski
Szymon Barylski
Szymon Barylski
Szymon Barylski
Szymon Barylski
Szymon Barylski
Szymon Barylski
 
R.J. Kern
Nationality: United States
Born: 1978
R. J. Kern is a photographer whose work explores animal portraiture as it relates to ideas of home, ancestry, and a sense of place.

He majored in Art & Art History and Environmental Geography from Colgate University and holds a Master's Degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. R. J. is the recipient of a 2016 Artist Initiative Grant awarded by the Minnesota State Arts Board. His work received critical acclaim through the 2015 Review Santa Fe, a finalist (…)
R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern
R.J. Kern
 
Jianwei Yang
Nationality: Canada
Born: 1969
I was born in 1969, Beijing. Studied Computer Science at Beijing University of Technology and University of Tsukuba. I’m currently working for a software company in Vancouver. Photography is a hobby and I became a serious street photographer in late 2010. I love walking on the streets in downtown Vancouver and capture the interesting moments in those familiar places. Urban geometry, light and shadow, strong contrast and precise timing...those are the basic elements in my (…)
Jianwei Yang
Jianwei Yang
Jianwei Yang
Jianwei Yang
Jianwei Yang
Jianwei Yang
Jianwei Yang
Jianwei Yang
 
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
Nationality: France
Born: 1986
Born in 1986 in Suresnes, I moved all over France during my youth as I followed my father's professional transfers. Middle School in Languedoc, part of High School in Jura and the rest in Besancon.

Back in Paris in 2010 after being accepted at the Icart School of Photography (in Levallois Perret), I obtained my diploma in 2013, finishing second with my series "Architectura".

Since then, I had several internships with architectural photographers and I (…)
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
Nicolas Thomas Moreno
 
Sasha Stone
Nationality: Russia/United States
Born: 1895 - Died: 1940
Sasha Stone (1895-1940) was born Aleksander Serge Steinsapir in St. Petersburg, Russia, of Jewish parents. He lived and worked in Europe and America between the wars and is best known for his portraits, nude studies, photographs of Berlin and for his photojournalism. Stone studied engineering in Warsaw, and then spent several years in New York, where he obtained American citizenship and chose the pseudonym Sasha Stone. After a sculptor and painter education in Paris and (…)
 
Angela Fisher
Nationality: United States
Thirty years of work on the African continent have carried Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher across 270,000 miles and through remote corners of 40 countries in exploration of more than 150 African cultures. In the process, this team of world-renowned photographers has produced fourteen widely acclaimed books and made four films about traditional Africa. They have been granted unprecedented access to African tribal rites and rituals and continue to be honored worldwide for (…)
 
Kristoffer Albrecht
Nationality: Finland
Born: 1961
Born in Helsinki, Finland in 1961. Lives in Ingå, Finland. Albrecht works as an independent photographer.
His photographic work has been exhibited in his native Finland and internationally. Albrecht's work can be seen in collections at Helsinki’s Finnish Museum of Photography, Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, Moscow’s Pushkin Museum, Paris’ Bibliothèque Nationale, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more. Has published some 30 books, among them Metropol (1998), (…)
Kristoffer Albrecht
Kristoffer Albrecht
Kristoffer Albrecht
Kristoffer Albrecht
Kristoffer Albrecht
Kristoffer Albrecht
Kristoffer Albrecht
Kristoffer Albrecht
 
Photo LA
Sponsored Link
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Photo Contest - All About Photo Awards 2020
 
Discover the Latest Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
David Bailey: SUMO
Sponsored Link
 
Explore All About Photo