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Into the Light: The Photo League Years
by Sonia Handelman Meyer
ISBN: 978-0-917990-95-3

Into the Light – The Photo League Years is a collection of black-and-white photographs by Sonia Handelman Meyer.  This collection is based on the catalogue for an exhibit by the same title sponsored by the Hodges Taylor Gallery, September/October 2007 in Charlotte, NC.

During the 1940s Sonia Meyer became an active member in the Photo League in New York City. The League offered its members a forum in serious photography, with exhibitions, publications, darkrooms, lectures, and other events. As a photographer, Sonia Meyer dedicated herself to social documentary, taking photographs of local neighborhoods and their citizens with a keen and sympathetic eye for the human condition.

Meyer’s photographs and street scenes of immigrants, minorities, and children, whether in Harlem, the Village, or Brooklyn, accent the resilience and dignity of those facing economic adversity. Her subjects, which are often children, endure, persevere, and survive, despite the odds. Poor children play and laugh; they find spaces of joy. Meyer’s children of the city exist on their own terms. They are free and lively, as they endeavor to live and grow in the midst of towering tenements and poverty.

About the Author

Sonia Handelman Meyer was born in 1920 in Lakewood, N. J. A New York City resident for most of her life, she became interested in photography and joined the Photo League about 1943.  She took advantage of the instruction offered by many well-known photographers and soon started to photograph the city and its people. Her images appeared in the New York Times and in the 1949 exhibition This Is the Photo League. Some of her work also later appeared in the International Center of Photography exhibition titled This Was the Photo League.

In 1947 the Photo League was listed as subversive by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and in the atmosphere of blacklisting and senseless name-calling  the League ended its remarkable activities in 1951.  By the end of that year, although she was still photographing, Meyer became involved in family life and her photographs were stored away in boxes.  In 2007, her photographs again came "Into the Light.".
 
After moving to Charlotte in 2002, she met with Lili Corbus Geer who wrote the essay for the book. Lili Geer is a professor of Art History at UNC-Charlotte with a special interest in the Photo League, who assigned a student to archive Meyer’s photographs.

Sonia Handelman Meyer’s work appeared in the Taylor Bercier Fine Art Gallery in New Orleans in the summer of 2008, and at a 2007-2008 exhibition in the Hodges Taylor Gallery in Charlotte, NC. She is currently in the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art until April, 2009 and will appear in a show called Women of the Photo League opening in March, 2009 at the Higher Pictures Gallery in New York .

Visit the author's website.

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