How often have you seen a photograph of a brilliant scientist, let’s take Albert Einstein as our example, and thought or exclaimed – “There! There is an individual with a fine mind and exceptional abilities!”?
More than once, we would guess.
Did you also wonder about the fine mind and abilities on the other side of the camera? The featured photo here and others that you may view on Artsy or www.fredstein.com, you may find examples of the photographic craftsmanship of Fred Stein.
According to Artsy, a website for promoting and selling of art, Stein was a German refugee, committed humanist, and early exponent of handheld photography. Stein fled his home country for Paris and later New York, where he captured both the poetry of the streets in joyful photographs and the luminaries of the 20th century in sensitive portraits. Despite the desolation and upheaval of the 1930s and ’40s, Stein found hope and beauty in city streets, taking photographs that conveyed his profound honesty and concern for his fellow human beings.
Meanwhile http://www.fredstein.com says that Stein was born on July 3, 1909 in Dresden, Germany. As a teenager he was deeply interested in politics and became an early anti-Nazi activist. He was a brilliant student, and went to Leipzig University, full of humanist ideals, to study law. He obtained a law degree in an impressively short time, but was denied admission to the German bar by the Nazi government for “racial and political reasons.” The threat of Fascism grew more and more dangerous and after the SS began making inquiries about him, Stein fled to Paris in 1933 with his new wife, Liselotte Salzburg, under the pretext of taking a honeymoon.
Our understanding of historical events and persons is often deeply influenced by photographs we have seen. The engaged expressions of Roosevelt or Einstein on this page may act to establish details of our individual and collective understanding of who these people were. That these images were crafted and informed by a humanist artist seems essential to comprehending the people and events that are captured in the images. These are humanist images and it is eminently humanist to reflect on the the rich and important humanist history and perspectives operating on both sides of the lens.
By the way, you may currently find other Fred Stein images for sale via Artsty. Viewable at the time this article was published are the wonderful Times Square in the Rain and View of Manhattan (New York), 1945.
Citations and References
The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on Humanist Freedoms are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.