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Portrait - New York
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Paul Strand
American, New York City, 1916
Platinum print
13 1/8 x 9 5/16 in.
89.XM.1.1

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I suddenly got the idea of making portraits of people the way you see them in New York parks-sitting around, not posing, not conscious of being photographed. People involved in the process of daily living. So wrote Paul Strand of a series of images he made early in his career. This photograph was made in New York City's Washington Square Park.

Photographed without her knowledge by the use of a fake lens mounted on the side of his camera and front to disguise his attention, the anonymous woman appears slightly off center. Her sad, introspective expression echoes in every furrowed line on her weathered face. The delicate decoration of her hat and the satiny shimmer of her scarf help soften the aging that dramatically marks her countenance.