Flashback! The 50's

By Eve Arnold

Gutsy! That's my word for Eve Arnold. How else does one describe a diminutive female Jewish freelance photojournalist on assignment to follow Malcolm X and the Black Muslims for two years. This book is an education in photography, history, and life.

Flashback! The 50's is a collection of Eve Arnold's photographs from the decade of Ike, bobby-sox, rock 'n' roll, Malcolm X, and civil rights. This work is personal, not public; limited to her interests rather than covering the entire scope of the decade. Arnold revisits the collection of her work to create a backdrop. She had been living abroad since the 50's came to a close. At the time of this publication (1978) she needed to make sense of all that transpired. Revisiting the 50's was her first step. 

I picked up Eve Arnold's Flashback! The 50's for two reasons: First, to increase my understanding of the era, as it plays a significant part in the life of Lyndon B. Johnson, a primary subject of interest and a future leadership text. Second, Eve Arnold is a master of her craft. As an amateur photographer, I wanted to study her work and learn. 

Eve Arnold's Flashback! The 50's satisfied both desires. 

Five reasons to read:

1. Eve Arnold's ability to capture poignant moments of life. 
2. Her perspective on Marilyn Monroe and Malcolm X, and more. 
3. Her approach to her craft -- there are lessons to be learned (start at pages 78).
4. A glimpse into 50's Civil Rights efforts..
5. The pictures of Joe McCarthy, Joe Cohn, and David Schine. So telling! (see page 28-29)