Eastern Front – Western Front World War II Photojournalism by Georgi Zelma and Constance Stuart Larrabee
Corcoran Legacy Collection/Project Space
Laura Roulet, Curator
February 4 – March 19, 2023
A history of combat photography and photojournalism during World War II with little-known views into the battles and aftermath of the European theater of war.
Georgi Zelma, Cinema Photographer, Stalingrad, c. 1943. Vintage gelatin silver print, sheet: 4 × 6 1/8 inches. Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of Paul and Teresa Harbaugh).
This exhibition offers a unique juxtaposition of their perspectives as a Russian man and a British woman working as photojournalists during this time. Both of their bodies of work provide little-known views into the battles and aftermath of the European theater of war, contributing to the history of combat photography and photojournalism during World War II.
Vintage and lifetime photographs are supplemented by archival materials such as Larrabee’s contact sheets, war correspondent ID, field notes, and the original magazines where her photographs were published. The processes of pre-digital photography—such as contact sheet printing, darkroom techniques, and editing—are presented and explained through archival material within the exhibition.
About the Photojournalists
- Georgi Zelma (1906–1984) was a Russian Jewish photographer who grew up in Moscow. He was part of the avant-garde Constructivist movement in the 1920s and ‘30s with artists such as Aleksandr Rodchenko and El Lissitzky. He photographed major industrial projects of the early Soviet Union and became well known for his wartime photography. Zelma’s coverage of the infamously catastrophic Battle of Stalingrad (1942–43) for the Moscow newspaper Izvestia provides rare Soviet insight into this crucial turning point in the war.
- Constance Stuart Larrabee (1914–2000) was born in England, grew up in South Africa, and moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1953. One of very few female war correspondents, Larrabee’s photos are exceptional for their focus on the experience of the civilian population and portraits of Allied troops. Larrabee’s photography for Libertas, South Africa’s Life magazine, celebrates the war efforts of Allied troops and the liberations of North Africa, France, and Italy from 1944–45.
Georgi Zelma, Forward, Stalingrad, 1942. Gelatin silver print mounted on envelope, sheet: 2 5/8 x 4 inches. Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of Paul and Teresa Harbaugh)
Constance Stuart Larrabee, D-Day, Beach Head, the Riviera, France. Gelatin silver print sheet: 20 x 16 inches.
Constance Stuart Larrabee, Woman, Shaved Head, Holding Her Cut Hair and Hiding Her Face. Gelatin silver print sheet: 20 x 16 inches.