Ronald Reis Photographs

289 photographs and contact sheets made between 1957 and 1973 primarily in London and New York City.More »

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New York City: newsstand rrpph01002001
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London: Hyde Park Speaker's Corner rrpph03002006
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Florence, Italy: street scene rrpph02002014
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Jerusalem: market in the old city rrpph06001010
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New York City: Washington Square Park rrpph01004007

About the Digital Collection

Ronald Reis began taking photographs as a youngster with an Argus A2. He shot sports photography in junior high school with an Argus C-3 and an Ansco Reflex. He continued photographing sports, acquiring cameras, and developing his darkroom skills throughout high school and college. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1957, Reis turned his 35mm Leica from the sports fields to the streets.

Influenced by the work of Helen Levitt, Louis Stettner, and Cartier-Bresson, Reis became a passionate street photographer, honing his eye and his ability to compose and capture photographs on the fly. This decisive quality is reflected in his contact sheets filled with single exposures. Reis primarily photographed in New York, Connecticut, and Europe during the 1960s. The collection captures the look and feel of this pivotal decade, especially in New York City and London.

Ronald Reis continues to photograph on the street using digital cameras and now prints in color as well as black and white.

Archival boxSource Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

Ronald Reis photographs 1954-2014 and undated

Collection #RL.01078 | 20.5 Linear Feet; 26 boxes; approximately 4018 items

ABSTRACT
The images in this collection were taken by photographer Ron Reis from the 1950s to 1979 and from 2004 to 2014. The earlier body of work (1962-1974) contains 289 black-and-white photographs, accompanied by negatives and contact sheets. The later body of work (2004-2014) contains 3,719 black-and-white and color laser inkjet prints, with a majority of images dated 2012 to 2013. Reis focused his camera on street scenes primarily in New York and New England, but also in Colorado and the midwest, in Europe (Italy, England, Ireland, and Greece), and in the Middle East. His images capture anti-war demonstrations, feminist and gay pride parades, and ethnic festivals, while also documenting the more quotidian life of urban neighborhoods, street markets, and other public spaces such as Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park and New York City's Washington Square. The earlier black-and-white gelatin silver prints measure 11x14 inches, while the laser inkjet prints measure 11x17 inches. There are also manuscript and printed materials such as a curriculum vitae, some correspondence, exhibition publicity, articles, and photo essays. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

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From Our Blog

Taken near doorways

by Thomas Crichlow over 2 years ago

We’re continually walking through doorways or passing them by, but how often do we linger to witness the life that unfolds nearby? Let the photographs below be your doorway, connecting you with lives lived in other places and times. Be adventurous. Explore more images taken by these photographers as displayed within Duke University Libraries’ digitized … Continue reading Taken near doorways


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