World View: Photographing World Disorder
October 12, 2018
by Leonard Freed
Since the early 1950s, documentary photographer Leonard Freed had been chronicling life in the Western world with a profoundly humanist vision. Worldview is the most ambitious exhibition of Freed’s work ever produced. It spans his full fifty-year career, including his coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the American civil rights movement, the period of post-war German reconstruction, and the Romanian revolution. His range is astonishing – on the one hand, war, revolution, crime, poverty, violent death and the grief it brings; on the other, the myriad forms of work people perform the world over, the mysteries of birth and death, the rituals of courtship and marriage, and the brief moments people find for reverie, contentment, friendship and love.
The exhibition was initially curated by William Ewing, director of the Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne.
Leonard Freed (1929-2006) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class Jewish parents of Eastern European descent. He began photographing while in the Netherlands in 1953. He moved to Amsterdam in 1958 and photographed the Jewish community there. He then photographed Jews in Germany and published the work in Made in Germany (1970). Working as a freelance photographer from 1961 onwards, Freed began to travel widely, photographing blacks in America, Black in White America (1967), events in Israel, the Yom Kippur War, and the New York City police department, Police Work (1980).