Unseen for decades, an early reportage in a quintessentially American postwar city reveals the making of Erwitt’s photographic style, released as a new book (Pittsburgh 1950) and introduced by National Geographic writer Vaughn Wallace

In September 1950, 22-year-old Elliott Erwitt stepped off a Greyhound bus in Pittsburgh and, new to the city, took a small, rented room at the YMCA downtown. The Paris-born Erwitt had traveled to Pittsburgh from New York at the invitation of Roy Stryker, the former head of the Information Division of the federal government’s Farm Security Administration. Controlling, magnanimous, often impossibly mission-driven, Stryker had furthered the careers of countless photojournalists, many of whom – Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Wolcott, Gordon Parks and more – in later years would be recognized as pioneers whose visual stories helped define the first half of the 20th century.

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