Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Street, New York, 1948

Todd Webb, Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Street, New York, 1948

Spanning seventy-two inches and consisting of eight individual gelatin silver panels, Todd Webb’s view of Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets, ICP’s current location, is an enthralling panorama of an era. To Webb, New York had a powerful dynamic and an energy that moved him deeply. If he wasn’t on the road working on one of Standard Oil Company’s assignments for Roy Stryker, Webb was walking around, photographing the city. In his daily journal, he wrote about the city that became one of his great photographic loves: “Late in the afternoon I went on a sightseeing trip sans camera. […] Seeing Manhattan from across the river was really something. I couldn’t help but think of the old saw, “fabled city”—it did seem almost too big to be true. […] Yes, I want to photograph what I saw yesterday—it has been done a million times but I had a strong feeling for it—it was so exciting and if I can show a little of what I felt they won’t be corny.” Webb started his photographic career in the late 1930s and was inspired and trained by iconic figures such as Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Beaumont Newman, and Harry Callahan. This stunning piece, a recent acquisition, is on view in the Museum Café until January 2012.

About claartjevandijk

Assistant Curator, Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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