Friday 3 July 2015

Photos of Ellis Island by Alfred Eisenstaedt

I've been really fascinated by these photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt after stumbling upon them in my research on documentary photography. I find them to be incredible images of people in between, Ellis Island serving as a liminal space between a past and the potential for a certain future. Not only do the photographs highlight the anxiety and desperation in the faces of the subjects, they also show hope with regard to the possibility of starting somewhere fresh. Whether the photographs portray faces that are completely grumpy, in despair or focused, the long travel endured by these people is palpable. 

Caption from LIFE. "Antonio Magnani copes with his children and fat briefcase holding his entry papers." Ellis Island, 1950.

Not published in LIFE. The Saturnia docks at at Ellis Island, 1950.

Not published in LIFE. Ellis Island, 1950.

Caption from LIFE. "In women's dormitory, separated from husbands, wives sit silently on their beds. At right is Maria Palmerini of Italy, here for a six-month visit. She receives same treatment as those who will stay."

Not published in LIFE. Rachel and Schulim Pewzner, from Warsaw, Poland, interviewed at Ellis Island, 1950.

Images taken from

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