Walter Rosenblum: In Search of Pitt Street

Walter Rosenblum: In Search of Pitt Street

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Walter Rosenblum is recognized as one of the most important photographers of Twentieth Century America. His photographs of World War II, the liberation of Dachau, of Haiti, Europe and the neighborhoods of New York City are a cherished part of our national heritage.The images that he has made during his 60 year career serve to make us feel not only of the ravages of war but tender human moments. Walter Rosenblum's photographs have been exhibited widely and can be found in the collections of many of the world's major art museums. His early involvement with photography began when as a 19 year old he joined the Photo League and studied with such important photographers as Lewis Hine and Paul Strand. His first photographs were taken on the Lower East Side, where he spent his youth; this neighborhood has remained his lifelong inspiration and a place to which he continues to return even now. Rosenblum's work was first published by Ralph Steiner in the newspaper PM. In 1939, he became the assistant to LIFE magazine photographer Eliot Elisofon, and in 1941, he freelanced for SURVEY GRAPHIC and MADAMOISELLE magazine. He documented the farming and war effort for the Agricultural Adjustment Administration before being drafted. In 1943, his photographs were selected for the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, "New Workers I". As a World War II combat photographer, Rosenblum took part in the D-Day landings at Omaha Beach where he and his team captured "the longest day" in photographs and movies known worldwide. When the movie photographer on his team was killed, he took over the job and remained a motion picture photographer for the rest of the war. The anti-tank battalion to which he was attached drove through France, Germany and Austria. He was the first Army cameraman to film the liberation of Dachau concentration camp. One of the most decorated combat cameramen of the war, Rosenblum's war images are among the most memorable to emerge from the conflict. After the war, he was sent by the Unitarian Service Committee to document the plight of Spanish Civil War refugees living in squalid conditions in the south of France, and later, Mexican migrant workers in the American southwest. He began his teaching career in 1948 at Brooklyn College where he held the rank of Professor. In 1952 he was appointed to the faculty of the Yale Summer School of Art, a position he held through 1976. He also taught photography at Cooper Union. In 1979, Rosenblum received a Guggenheim fellowship for his project "People of the South bronx" which served as the basis for several exhibitions and lectures. In1998, Rosenblum, together with his wife Naomi, received the Infinity Award for lifetime achievement from the International Center for Photography. A moving portrait by the master photographer's daughter, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Nina Rosenblum, Walter Rosenblum: In Search of Pitt Street is a love letter to a talented father from his daughter. As both a still and motion picture photographer, Walter Rosenblum's images have served as icons for the historic events he has recorded throughout his illustrious career. The photographer who captured the first images of the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach and the liberation of Dachau, Rosenblum stands alongside such prestigious names as Edward Weston and Paul Strand in the history of American photography. His work, which is featured in major museums and collections around the world, encompasses a range of images from important world events to tender human moments photographed from New York's Pitt Street on the Lower East Side (1938), WWII (1943-45) Spanish Refugees in France (1946), East Harlem (1952), Haiti (1958), Europe (1973), Long Island City (1970's), and the South Bronx (1980). This is the story of the life and times of a renowned photographer and member of the Photo League, whose photographs are a recognized part of our national heritage.
Starring None
Director Nina Rosenblum

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