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101 Quick and Easy Ideas Taken from the Master Photographers of the Twentieth Century by Matthew Bamberg

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Chapter 14. John Gutmann (1905–1998)

Born in Germany, John Gutmann came to the United States in 1933 to escape the Nazis. In Germany he had trained as a painter. He found America fascinating, photographing things he had never seen in Europe—tattoo parlors, drive-in businesses, and huge movie theaters. He also photographed automobiles inside and out, and he photographed jazz musicians, such as Count Basie.

What made Gutmann different from other photographers of the time is that he worked outside the FSA (Farm Security Administration). Many well-known photographers of the ’30s photographed for this government agency, and their photos were often solemn artifacts of the Great Depression. Gutmann’s were not. His eye for all things American, including ...

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