Risking Life and Lens
Photo by Helen M. Stummer

Risking Life and Lens

Helen M. Stummer is a photographer, a visual sociologist, and a woman who speaks her mind, lets you know her politics, and perseveres no matter what. She’s taken pictures of people in their environment in New York’s Lower East Side, rural Maine, and Guatemala. And she spent over 30 years in Newark’s Central Ward.  Her 2017 memoir, Risking Life and Lens, tells the stories of her forays into poor and sometimes dangerous neighborhoods. Helen also tells the story of her own childhood. She describes it as emotionally impoverished although, outwardly, comfortably suburban.

The caption for the photograph above is Quinzel, Cornelius, and Hasan 1998. Helen always asks permission, and often gets to know the people she photographs. Later, she gives them prints.

Our story on Helen M. Stummer, Newark native, Kean University graduate, and Metuchen, New Jersey resident aired on the March 19, 2017 episode of State of the Arts.

(This blog post was updated in December 2019.)

Helen M. Stummer, East 6th Street, NYC (1977-80)

Helen M. Stummer, East 6th Street, NYC (1977-81)

 

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