Louis Stettner Books on Amazon
Louis Stettner on Facebook
Bonni Benrubi Gallery
Peter Fetterman Gallery
Jackson Fine Art Gallery
Paris Voice Article: "Louis Stettner, Black & White and No Regrets"
The Red List
YouTube Interview, 2013
YouTube: Louis Stettner, Fotógrafo
|"Brooklyn Bridge" - 1986|
|"Girl Playing in Light Circles" - 1958|
|"Commuters, Evening Train" - 1958|
|"Subway Series" - 1946|
|"Lower Second Avenue, New York" - 1954|
|"Entrance to Central Waiting Hall" - 1958|
|"Janet, Athens New York" - 1998|
|"Pigalle" - 1949|
|"Spiritual America, Midtown Manhattan" - 1998|
|"The Great White Way, Times Square at Night" - 1954|
|"Sailor, Times Square" - 1951|
|"Place Saint Augustin" - 1993|
|"Scambia" - 1991|
|"World Trade Center" - 1978|
Special thanks to Louis Stettner for allowing me to reproduce his photographs, here, on my blog. Without his kind cooperation and generosity this blog entry would not have been possible. No further use of these photographs is allowed without his permission.
Biography (Source: Wikipedia, Janet Stettner, and Louis Stettner's web site):
Louis Stettner was born on November 7, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York where he was raised as one of four children. His father was a cabinet maker and Louis learned the trade when young, using the money to support his growing love of photography. He was given a box camera as a child and his love affair with photography began. His family went on trips to Manhattan and visited museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he began his love of art.
At 18, in 1940, Stettner enlisted in the army and became a combat photographer in the Pacific. Back from the war he joined the Photo League in New York. Stettner visited Paris in 1946 and, in 1947, moved there. From 1947 to 1949 he studied at the "Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques" in Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in Photography & Cinema. He went back and forth between New York and Paris for almost two decades and finally settled permanently in Saint-Ouen, near Paris, in 1990. Stettner still frequently returns to New York.
Stettner's professional work in Paris began with capturing life in the post-war recovery. He captured the everyday lives of his subjects. In the tradition of the Photo League, he wanted to investigate the bonds that connected people regardless of class. In 1947 he was asked by the same Photo League to organize an exhibition of French photographers in New York. He gathered the works of some of the greatest photographers of the era, including Doisneau, Brassaï, Boubat, Izis, and Ronis. The show was a big success and was largely reviewed in the annual issue of U.S. Camera. Stettner had begun a series of regular meetings with Brassaï who was a great mentor and had significant influence on his work. In 1949, Stettner had his first exhibition at the “Salon des Indépendants" at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
In 1951 his work was included in the famous Subjektive Fotografie exhibition in Germany. During the 1950s he free-lanced for Time, Life, Fortune, and Du (Germany). While in Paris he reconnected with Paul Strand who had also left New York because of political intolerance of the McCarthy era -- Strand had been a founder of the Photo League that would be blacklisted then banned during those years.
In the 1970s Stettner spent more time in New York City where he taught at Brooklyn College, Queens College, and Cooper Union.
In his own work, Stettner focused on documenting the lives of the working class in both Paris and New York. He has photographed Paris and New York for over 60 years, capturing the changes in the people and culture of both cities. Stettner has documented the cultural evolution of Paris and New York, making his archive of thousands of images an important resource. Few photographers have such an extensive archive of both cities.
He felt and still believes that the cities belong to the people that live there, not the tourists and visitors. His upbringing caused him to take great care in capturing the simple human dignity of the working class. Additionally, his paintings and sculptures tend to be abstract and in sharp contrast to his clear, vivid photographic images.
Now in his 90s, he continues to photograph with great energy. Stettner also spends significant time sculpting and painting, as well as mixing his work and “painting” on some of his photographic images.