A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York 1945 – 1960
April 20 – September 4, 2017
at the Museum of the City of New York
First Major Museum Exhibition of Photographer’s Work
Since the Museum’s Exhibition of his Early Images in 1946
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
Sean Corcoran, Curator of Prints and Photography
Whitney Donhauser, Ronay Menschel Director, Museum of the City of New York
Born in 1905, Todd Webb first picked up a camera in the late 1930s. He had thought of becoming a travel writer and lecturer using a camera to record his journeys. His interest and love for photography soon crowded out his writing ambitions, and he was able to do all the things he loved the most: travel, meet people, and photograph them. After a stint in the Navy in World War II in 1945, Webb moved to New York City and began his career as a professional photographer. There he began a remarkable project of walking the streets of New York City with his heavy camera and tripod photographing people and buildings he encountered. His work was influenced by many of his friends and colleagues such as Harry Callahan, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Gordon Part, and Roy Stryker, among others.
The exhibition will feature 131 of Webb’s photographs as well as excerpts from his journal entries, providing a window into the photographer’s emotions and motivations behind the photos. A City Seen will also showcase ephemera based on a wide array of New York communities featuring the city, the people, and the neighborhoods he grew to love, which taken together will offer viewers a unique sense of place in time. This is the first major museum exhibition of Webb’s work since the Museum of the City of New York first exhibited his early images in 1946.