Eric Schaal

19.05.2013 in17:03 in Documentary -->


Share

Eric Schaal was one of the great Jewish photographers who left Germany in the ‘Thirties for safety and America. He worked mostly for LIFE, who commissioned him for much celebrity portraiture, Woodie Guthrie, and most notably, Salvador Dali. More than that I know nothing. There are references to his executors finding fresh material on Dali, so the collection may be safe and secure.

The autumnal study of the elegant Hamilton Headquarters in Lancaster County, PA, is one of my favourite FORTUNE factory pictures. The company (founded 1892 by Lancaster entrepreneurs to make watches of the highest quality) ceased manufacturing in 1969 and was sold off to the Swiss Company Buren. This magnificent building was transformed into residential accommodation (the Clock Towers Condominion). It is a favourite motif in old postcards which give a more accurate account of the scale of industrial production than Schaal’s gentle ‘Varsity style facade.

The lively spattered double page layout is characteristically Will Burtin, with the minutae of manufacturing breaking loose from the conventional frame.The choice of the subject, skilled American craftsmanship and a traditional factory site, sums up much of the aesthetic Walker Evans believed should be at the heart of the magazine.Only one small image reveals the full scale of the production line.