“Bright, smart or brilliant, things like that.”

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), Little Italy, Manhattan (Feast of San Gennaro), 1952 (367.1984) [Joseph Ronga, 106 Mulberry St.]

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), 42nd Street (Looking West) and Vanderbilt Avenue, 1953 (369.1984)

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), 30th Street and Lexington Avenue, NYC (Sunday a.m.), 1965 (378.1984)

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), City Cat (New York City), 1951

The above audio is the first eight minutes of an enlightening talk by Alfred Gescheidt at ICP on October 20, 1982. Before the slides are projected, Gescheidt reads from note cards that articulate his thoughts on his photographic practice, the photography field, his colleagues, his fondness for their work, and Life: “I made a few notes and then we’ll look at a lot of pictures.” A few highlights include: “The funniest photographer I’ve ever known was Weegee. I’m talking about the man’s personality.” (Check for Two Murders is an example of Weegee’s wit.) John Morris tells Gescheidt: “Like all photographers, you don’t know how to edit.” Gescheidt acknowledges that the gods (like Arnold Newman and Philippe Halsman) of the field of photography are very human. Roman Vishniac demonstrates that you’re never too old to learn. And, directed at Cornell Capa and Gescheidt himself, both photographers with Hungarian heritage, there was a sign in a Hollywood studio in the 1920s that read: “It is not enough that you are Hungarian, you also must be talented.” Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and W. Eugene Smith were influential photographers to the young Gescheidt, and he was a cousin to the PM photographer Alan Fisher. Although known as a humorous photographer, a maker of incongruous, multi-negative montages, it was not-manipulated, street, mostly 35mm photography that remained a life-long pursuit and passion; the objective was to photograph things that he couldn’t believe were happening.

The “Speaking of Pictures” stories in LIFE that Gescheidt speaks of can be seen here:
LIFE, “Speaking of Pictures,” June 26, 1950, pp. 20-21
LIFE, “Speaking of Pictures,” July 28, 1958, pp. 8-9
Gescheidt speaks about this Mona Lisa photo and the “Moody Musing on the Subway” mass transit photos:

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), [Untitled], 1975 (388.1984)

Alfred Gescheidt at ICP on December 15, 1982.

LIFE, November 26, 1951, pp. 8-9

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3 Responses to “Bright, smart or brilliant, things like that.”

  1. Andrew Gescheidt says:

    This is great stuff. Never new it existed, what a rare treat,
    Andrew Gescheidt

  2. Thanks so much for posting this! I’m that youngest of Alfred’s two sons he refers to in his introductory remarks – 35 years ago. Which means I was there, but don’t remember it! Yikes. I’m also a professional photographer, in the SF Bay Area for the last 20 years.

    How did you come to post this? Do you (ICP) have one audio file of the whole program?

    Jack Gescheidt
    Founder, The TreeSpirit Project

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