An unusually intimate, close-quarters account of daily life in postwar communist countries
For most people in the West, the realities of life behind the Iron Curtain have faded into caricatures of police state repression and bread lines. With the world seemingly again divided between democracies and authoritarian regimes, it is essential that we understand the reality of life in the Soviet Bloc. American photojournalist Arthur Grace (born 1947) was uniquely placed to provide that context.
During the 1970s and 1980s Grace traveled extensively behind the Iron Curtain, working primarily for news magazines. One of only a small corps of Western photographers with ongoing access, he was able to delve into the most ordinary corners of people’s daily lives, while also covering significant events. Many of the photographs in this remarkable book are effectively psychological portraits that leave the viewer with a sense of the gamut of emotions in that era.
Illustrated with over 120 black-and-white images―nearly all previously unpublished―Communism(s) gives an unprecedented glimpse behind the veil of a not-so-distant time filled with harsh realities unseen by nearly all but those that lived through it. Shot in the USSR, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia and the German Democratic Republic, here are portraits of factory workers, farmers, churchgoers, vacationers and loitering teens juxtaposed with the GDR’s imposing Social Realist–designed apartment blocks, annual May Day Parades, Poland’s Solidarity movement (and the subsequent imposition of martial law) and the vastness of Moscow’s Red Square.
About the Author
Arthur Grace began his professional career in 1973 as a staff photographer for United Press International. During his award-winning career in photojournalism spanning three decades, he covered stories around the globe as a contract photographer for Time magazine and a staff photographer for Newsweek magazine. His photographs have appeared in leading publications worldwide, including on the covers of Life, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Paris Match and Stern.
Over the past twenty-five years, Mr. Grace has published five critically acclaimed photographic books: Choose Me: Portraits of a Presidential Race, Comedians, State Fair, America 101, and Robin Williams: A Singular Portrait, 1986-2002. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad, including solo shows at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the International Center of Photography in New York.
Mr. Grace’s photographs are in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the National Museum of American History, among others. His color photojournalism archives are housed at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin.