ERIC Number: ED244286
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug-7
Reference Count: 0
The History of Black Star Picture Agency: "Life's" European Connection.
Smith, C. Zoe
Historians of photography have failed to explore the origins of the Black Star Picture Agency and how it introduced experienced photojournalists to Henry Luce, a publisher attempting to break new ground in American journalism with the introduction of a picture magazine, "Life," in 1936. Black Star's founders, Ernest Mayer, Kurt Kornfeld, and Kurt Safranski, had nearly worldwide connections with contract photographers, and were well experienced in the operation of German mass circulation photo magazines, as well as the new techniques of photojournalism. They recognized the value of candid photography and the photo essay in presenting both the famous and the ordinary in routine situations. Mayer, Kornfeld and Safranski shared with the editors of "Life" their experience as business men and as editors, and encouraged them to use more photo essays produced by individual photographers rather than so many single photographs. The Black Star photographers who produced photographs for "Life," many of whom were talented Euroupean emigres, applied their knowledge of German photojournalism practices in their work, thus creating another channel through which ideas were carried across cultural boundaries. Eventually, many of the photographers became "Life" staff members or contract photographers for the decades in which the magazine flourished. (CRH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Black Star Picture Agency; Journalism History; Life Magazine; Photojournalism
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (67th, Gainesville, FL, August 5-8, 1984).