on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Paul Strand Retrospective Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert

Review by Miles Flint

Miles Flint

Miles Flint was born in France and grew up living abroad. He studied Chinese at university and spent a year in China in the late stages of the Cultural Revolution. By sheer chance he found a career in technology. A first photo workshop in 2009 was a turning point and photography has gradually becoming his main work. He is mainly a landscape and travel photographer but is now finding himself ever more intrigued by architecture and cityscapes. Miles is based in London.


The Paul Strand retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London runs until July 3rd and is the first Strand retrospective in the UK since before he died in 1975.

The passage of time alone makes it an important event. In the intervening years the Philadelphia Museum of Art has gathered together much of Strand’s archive and developed an exhibition of such scale and scope that it will surely lead to a greater appreciation of a complex man and of his life and work as one of the great masters of photography.


Martine Franck “Paul Strand photographing the Orgeval Garden” 1974. © Martine Franck/Magnum Photos

Martine Franck “Paul Strand photographing the Orgeval Garden” 1974. © Martine Franck/Magnum Photos


There could be many starting points for a review of this exhibition but let me start in 1950 and develop the story from there This is the point at which Strand moved to France with Hazel Kingsbury; he also published his first major photo book “Time in New England” in that year. He and Hazel were married in France in 1951. He was 61 and she was his third wife.

Strand’s political views were central to his art but are very seldom overtly expressed. He was of the Left though his views are not easily categorised in today’s terms or indeed in the terms of the immediate post war years. Ben Maddow wrote of him that “Strand was the only person he knew who simultaneously believed in the American, Russian and Chinese revolutions”. The US government had taken away his passport for several years and so it is hardly surprising that the spectre of McCarthy prompted his move to Europe.  

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