Untitled [dancing] by George Rodger
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Gelatin silver print
Artist stamp, in ink, with annotations, in pencil, au verso
Printed circa 1955
Image credit: Estate of George Rodgers / Magnum Photos
George Rodger (1908 – 1995) was born in Hale, Cheshire, and spent his childhood in Cheshire and Scotland. He attended St. Bee’s College, Cumbria but left early to join the British Merchant Navy, spending two years travelling the world. At twenty, he went to America where he worked at various jobs during the depression. Returning to England in 1936, he joined the BBC as a photographer.
At the outbreak of war he became a correspondent for the American magazine LIFE, and for the next seven years his assignments took him to sixty-two countries where he covered over eighteen war campaigns. Some of his most notable photographs during the war included the London Blitz, West Africa with the Free French, the fall of Burma, the Sicilian and Salerno landings, the Battle of Monte Cassino, the D-Day Normandy landings, the Liberation of Paris, Brussels Holland and Denmark, the Surrender at Luneberg and the liberation of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.
Known as “The quiet Englishman” because of his self-effacing demeanour, George Rodger described himself as a dreamer who took up photography to see what the world had to offer beyond his horizons. This exploration would take him into desert, jungle, war and many parts of the world. And in 1947 he would join Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and David (Chim) Seymour in establishing the renowned photographic agency Magnum Photos.
His main work concerned the vanishing tribes and wildlife of Africa and the documentation of ethnic people in remote areas. He also travelled extensively throughout the Far East, India and the Middle East, writing and illustrating articles for magazines in Europe and America.
In 1959, George Rodger and his wife settled in the small village of Smarden, in Kent, where he wrote and illustrated for magazines but still continued his travels, mainly to Africa which, with his camera, was his favourite hunting ground.
Source: George Rodger Photographs
This listing is for George Rodger’s 1948 picture of a Bachimbri girl dancer, photographed in Uganda during a cross-continent road trip that started in Cape Town and ended in Cairo. The photograph was made less than a year after leaving LIFE to establish Magnum Photos along with Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and David Seymour. The composition is typical of Rodger’s pictures of the peoples and rituals of the many societies in Africa he encountered and was welcomed into. Worth noting is how his photographs were not “packaged” to reinforce the typical post-colonial narrative that was prevalent in the reportage of the time.
The second image presents a verso view of the print, showing annotations and Rodger’s studio stamp.
- George Rodger 1908 - 1995 - George Rodger Photography, 2017
George Rodger - Magnum Photos