PHOTOGRAPHY FOR FORTUNE
|Sun Oil., Feb 1941|
|American Locomotive, February 1942 (with R.Y.Ritchie)|
|Furnace Scene February 1944 (single)|
|The Yankee Mechanic April 1940 (single)|
|Pratt & Whitney (with Arthur Gerlach)|
|Pratt & Whitney March 1941 single|
|Back to Beautyrest 1937|
|Crying and Crying, National Supply 1937|
|Glenn L.Martin Co, 1939|
|KOPPERS, single 1937|
|Union Bag & Paper Corp., August 1937|
|Sperry, May 1940|
|The Special Case of John L Lewis, Miners Drilling September 1943|
Kessel was born into an affluent farming family in Kiev in 1902, and was using a Brownie camera from an early age. After the Revolution he became a soldier in the Ukranian and Red Armies.and then studied industrial chemistry. He left for America, arriving in 1923, working initially as a furrier taking photographs at the weekends in New York. In 1936 took his portfolio to FORTUNE who commissioneed a spread from him on Simmons mattresses, see above Beautyrest. Alongside Bourke White he was a pioneer in the early stages of industrial photography when images matched words on the page.The beginning of his American career coincided with the development of 35mm cameras, portability and flexibility on location. See his book On Assignment, Dmitri Kessel Life Photographer, New York, Abrams 1985.He was primarily known for daring and original war photography, mainly for LIFE magazine starting in 1937, given a retainer by the magazine that guaranteed ten days work a month. See John G.Morris, Get the Picture, a Personal History of Photo-Journalism, University of Chicago Press, 2002.
The Sperry feature is well worth the study for its fluidity of deploying photographs across a double page spread, the subtle combination of colour with black and white, and the integration of diagrams (of still and kinetic processes). Kessel also delights with his colour work among the Sun Ships.