Sonia Handelman Meyer & Ida Wyman: Two Pioneering Women Photographers of The Photo League

2023-04-21 - 2023-06-18

Opening Gallery talk April 21 with managers of the photographer’s estates, Joe Meyer, son of Sonia Handelman Meyer, and Heather Garrison, granddaughter of Ida Wyman: Watch on YouTube here.  The exhibition continues through June 18, 2023.

The Photo League was a collective of photographers active between 1936-1951 who believed their work could change poor social conditions and champion photography as an art form in the process. The Photo League thrived as one of the most progressive, dynamic and creative centers for photography in America, and was unusual in its time as many of the collective’s members were women. 

In the 1940s when McCarthyism started gathering momentum in the US, suspicious authorities decided to clamp down on the Photo League’s confrontational and uncensored representations of urban American society. In 1948, it was declared a subversive organization and blacklisted. As the league’s secretary at the time, Sonia Handelman Meyer answered the office phone when requests for comment about the accusations poured in from the media. “It got to be too much,” she told The New York Times. “They were blacklisting people”.

Both photographer’s work went unrecognized for decades. In recent years, there has been a revived interest in the radical collective that contributed incomparably towards promoting early street photography as an art form.