This well worn but accurate cliché is perhaps no more true than in the field of photojournalism, as proven in a new show at east London’s Daniel Blau gallery.
The show, entitled Happy Go Lucky, presents an array of 20th century American photojournalism images, offering an insightful glimpse into the history of America throughout the last hundred years.
And, as the images show, it was certainly no quiet time for the US. After the Second World War, the country’s success catalyzed a sense of positivism and determination – it was a time for the country to foster the sense that anything was possible.
However, the American Dream – instilling in people that they are entitled to ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ – was proven easier to postulate on than fulfill.
War, economic instability and civil rebellion continued to shatter said dream, as we see in the images depicting crippling social unrest.
We see candid photographs of scenes including inner-city Chicago housing projects, industry in rapid decline and some less uneasy scenes, such as the gorgeous fish-eye view of Manhattan.
Many of the images on display bear the hallmarks of a press print – ink stamps, crop-marks and news clippings are often visible, adding to the sense of history.
Happy Go Lucky runs until 13 April at Daniel Blau, 51 Hoxton Square, London N1