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Russell Lee (American, 1903-1986)

An FSA photographer from 1936-1942, Russell Lee documented tenant farmers, flood victims, and small towns with a humane yet unsentimental attitude. His use of direct flash for indoor scenes became his trademark. During this period he also developed an interest in formalism and documented buildings and signs. In 1938, he married Jean Smith, his second wife, who traveled with him and wrote photo captions and essays for projects including Pie Town and San Augustine. Lee, who was born in Ottawa, Illinois, documented Japanese internment camps with Lange during WWII, photographed coalmines and the oil industry after the war, and taught photography at the University of Texas, Austin.
- Marjorie Young

Selected Bibliography
Hurley, F. Jack. Russell Lee, Photographer Intror by Robert Coles. Dobbs Ferry: Morgan & Morgan, 1978.

Wroth, William, ed. Russell Lee's FSA Photographs of Chamisal and Penasco, New Mexico. Santa Fe: Ancient City Press, 1985.

Yates, Steve. Threads of Culture, Photography in New Mexico, 1939-1943. Santa Fe: Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of New Mexico, 1993.


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