Breaking

Stunning street photos capture the citizens and signage of postwar NYC, 1945-1960


With a yearning for the bustling humanity of Manhattan, he took his large-format camera to the streets, capturing its people and places in all seasons and seasons.

Buildings, signage, vehicles, passing throngs, individual figures, curious eccentricities, strange corners, windows, doors, alleyways, squares, walkways, storefronts, uptown and downtown, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Harlem, his paintings document a rich picture. are the everyday life and architecture of New York.


What set these photographs apart was their "straight, descriptive clarity", even though they were often of familiar ideas.

A large 10-foot-long panorama photograph that was critically acclaimed showed a section of Sixth Avenue from 43–44th Streets, which, in 1991, was viewed as a "city-view time capsule" and described as a "stunner". it was done.

Webb's photos reflect the photographer's spirit of discovery and capture the times, as do the hand-painted banner photos on the door of an apartment house saying "Welcome home, gis.

In one photo, Webb went to the top of the RCA Building and shot south using backlit technology, which captured the Empire State Building at night.

The best photographs include "the simple geometry of urban architecture" in the "simple elegance" of the best photographs, according to New York Times art critic Charles Hagen; Hagen thought Webb's photographs of New York City were his best.

In 1946, he had his first solo exhibition of his photographs at the Museum of New York City.


Webb fell in love with photography in 1940, after taking a master class with renowned nature photographer Ansel Adams.

But while Adams was known for his beautiful photographs of the United States' national parks, Webb was more drawn to urban cityscapes and the people who brought them to life.

In 1947, Webb was hired by Fortune magazine and worked with professional photographers funded by the Standard Oil Company under the leadership of Roy Stryker, with notable photographers such as Sol Libson in the group.

According to the New York Times, the team of professional photographers was given a "surprisingly free rein by their corporate sponsor" to make a documentary about the oil.


Webb traveled to Paris in 1949 and married fellow American Lucille Minque. In Paris, Webb produced a "flaming record" of the city that brought him recognition.

Then, Webbs moved back to New York City in 1952 to live in Greenwich Village. In 1955, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for photographically recording the pioneer trails of the early settlers of the western United States.

He was hired by the United Nations in 1957 to photograph its General Assembly. He won the contract to photograph sub-Saharan Africa in 1958.

The Webbs lived in the Provence region of France around 1970, and continued to take photographs regularly, and later lived for some time in Bath, England.

Webbs eventually settled in the state of Maine, living in the city of Portland based on a friend's suggestion. In 1978, Webb won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and continued to live and work in Maine. Webb died in 2000 in Lewiston, Maine.


In 2017, the Todd Web Archive updated its website with biographical data, archive information, and a column about news events.

In April 2017, an exhibit entitled "A City Scene" opened at the Museum in New York City. Curated by Sean Corcoran, the exhibition was a comprehensive survey of Webb's work in New York during the 1940s.

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