Leo Seltzer: America Today & The World in Review

From Imaging Dissent: Towards Becoming a Common Subject

Though the primary function of the Workers International Relief was to provide food, clothing, and shelter for strikers and their families, it also engaged in cultural work: Workers’ Laboratory Theater, The Red Dancers, symphony and mandolin orchestras, bands, and art workshops, to name a few. The Film and Photo League formed part of this cultural spectrum. A February 1930 report in the New Masses described the League as having “about 52 members,” holding meetings once a week and exhibitions twice a year. The story continued: “Only one of all the members is a professional photographer. All the other photographers earn their living as food workers, in restaurants, and housework. They have all learned the art of photography in this country. Their spacious headquarters is fully equipped with a darkroom, filming room and enlarging room, and all the materials used in the different processes of photography. The club also owns a moving picture projector and screen.” [footnote Quoted in Russell Campbell, “America: The (Workers’) Film & Photo League,” in Photography/Politics: One, eds. Terry Dennett, David Evans, Sylvia Gohl and Jo Spence (London: Photography Workshop, 1979).]

January 15, 2020

Curated by

Werker Collective