Topics & Collections

small text medium text large text

The Photographers: Harold Raymond Corsini

Photo of Harold Corsini (detail of group photo).

Harold Corsini was born August 28, 1919 and began his career as a freelance photographer in New York. For three years, he assisted Arnold Eagle as a photography teacher for the National Youth Administration. Corsini was fascinated by the work of Roy Stryker's Farm Security Administration photographers and wanted to be involved in the documentary style they practiced. He joined the Photo League in 1938, "the only free camera club in New York City," whose members were socially concerned photographers. Corsini's own work soon found its way into publications and exhibits.

In 1943, Harold Corsini was assigned to the Standard Oil documentary project under Roy Stryker. While documenting SO's operations in the field, Corsini would often send back vivid accounts of his experiences. In one letter, he described problems that a pipeline affiliate was having in obtaining right of way, saying the company had, among other things, given "a widow a black lace gown to be buried in." Corsini described his approach as, "This is the way I see it, this is the way I think it should look. I'd manipulate the scene more than anyone else -- not to the extent of falsifying things, but I would pick my camera angle differently than other people."

Corsini worked longer for Roy Stryker at the Standard Oil project than any other photographer. In 1950, he accompanied Stryker to Pittsburgh and assisted him as head of the photographic department at the Pittsburgh Photographic Library. Corsini remained in Pittsburgh when the PPL disbanded and began his own commercial photography business.

Later, he would join the faculty at Carnegie-Mellon University and teach for nine years. Corsini provided the photographs for a book published by Don Hale in 1983 entitled, Carnegie-Mellon Walking Tour. In 1986, Corsini published his own book, Carnegie Mellon: A Portrait, with photographs he took of aspects of the university that impressed him the most. Harold Corsini has since retired and resides in Pittsburgh.

Source: Roy Stryker: U.S.A., 1943-1950 by Steven W. Plattner (1983).

In addition to photographs housed by the Pittsburgh Photographic Library, substantial holdings of Corsini's work are maintained at the University of Louisville Photographic Archives (KY), the George Eastman House Photo Collection (NY), and the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Photographs by Harold Corsini

* Ariel Toucans
* Copper Manikin, University of Pittsburgh
* Demolition
* Fineview
* Fineview
* Monongahela Wharf
* Office Workers
* Playing Pool at the Boys' Club
* Relocation
* South Side
* Street Scene, Fineview
* Weightlifter
* Weightlifter