The Schmooze

The Discreet Photography of Esther Bubley

Fans of photography are discovering that a “slender, soft-spoken unobtrusive, curly-haired Midwestern Jewish girl,” as journalist Melissa Fay Greene calls Esther Bubley, was one of America’s most sensitive camera artists from the 1940s onward.

Greene’s “The Photographs of Esther Bubley” from D. Giles Limited tells how Bubley was born in Wisconsin in 1921 to a father from Dvinsk (today Daugavpils, Latvia), and a mother from Lazdijai, Lithuania.

When still a teenager, Bubley went to Washington, D.C., to work at the Office of War Information (OWI), an organization for whom she eventually took some of her most unforgettably humane photos. Bubley’s images captured evolving social mores, like her photo of African American women on Memorial Day, “Decorating a soldier’s grave…May 1943,” which was a pointed reminder that African American military personnel were dying in defense of a country which did not yet extend to them full civil rights.

Recommend this article

The Discreet Photography of Esther Bubley

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close
Close