Shirley C. Burden
American , 1909-1989
Collected by a major museum
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Shirley Burden is best known for his photographic essay of Ellis Island, shot in the 1950s—not long after it retired from serving as immigrants’ gateway to America. The black-and-white prints depict a nearly deserted space that nonetheless still bears traces of the millions of individuals who passed through. Having worked as a filmmaker in the late 1920s, Burden went on to produce training films for the American military during World War II before embarking on his career as a documentary photographer. Other of his prominent series explored Catholic culture, racial intolerance, and architectural design.

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