As a World War II U.S. Army combat photographer, Walter Rosenblum (1919-2006) landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Afterwards, the 5-man Signal Corps camera team of which he was a part was attached to various combat units fighting in France, Germany and Austria. At one point, he secured the surrender of armed German troops; at another, he took the first motion picture footage of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp. Rosenblum was one of the most decorated WWII photographers, awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, five battle stars, the Purple Heart, and a Presidential Unit Citation.
Rosenblum was an important figure in the advancement of twentieth century photography. He was a member of the New York Photo League, where as a young man he was mentored by Paul Strand and Lewis Hine, and for which he later served as the chair of the exhibition committee, the editor of the organization’s journal, Photo Notes, and as president of the League. His work stands out for its sensitive documentation of the hardships and beauty inherent to the human condition, as evidenced in his photographic studies of the immigrant experience in New York’s Lower East Side, Spanish Civil War refugees in France, in addition to a number of other communities and groups of people.
Rosenblum had a lengthy teaching career, beginning in 1947 at Brooklyn College (CUNY). He taught for 25 years at the Yale Summer School of Art, and also taught at Cooper Union, as well as at institutions dedicated to the study of photography in France, Italy and Brazil. More than forty international collections hold work by Rosenblum, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Library of Congress, the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
They Fight with Cameras: Walter Rosenblum in WWII from D-Day to Dachau features 46 of Rosenblum’s wartime photographs, a wide selection of historic documents, personal mementos, and film clips. A version of this exhibition, curated by Manuela Fugenz, was presented at the U.S. Embassy’s Amerika Haus in Vienna Austria, and the gallery 10b Photography in Rome, Italy.
Admission to the gallery is free. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, on Thursday until 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5 pm. For more information call 410-455-2270.
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Omaha Beach rescue; Normandy, France. June 7, 1944. Gelatin silver print, 7-5/8 x 9-11/16 in.; Rosenblum Photography Collection. Their landing craft shelled by German forces and beginning to sink in the heavy surf, surviving American soldiers were aided to shore with a rope line and raft by men of the 5th Engineers Special Brigade, while bodies of the dead were recovered. Pictured is 2nd Lt. Walter Sidlowski of the 5th Engineers Special Brigade and hero of the Omaha Beach rescue, moments after the raft had been brought ashore.
French kiddies enjoy a moving picture shown them on Bastille Day by American special service troops, in the little French town of Mazisy. Grandcamp-Maisy, France. July 15, 1944. Gelatin silver print, 4 x 4-7/8 in. Rosenblum Photography Collection.
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