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 new 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.

Click here to view Benjamin Genocchio’s moving slideshow and review of Rest in Peace, an exhibition of Helen M. Stummer’s work held at Aljira in 2008. The review appeared in the New York Times.

Our story on Helen M. Stummer, Newark native, Kean University graduate, and Metuchen, New Jersey resident will air on the March 19, 2017 episode of State of the Arts. An exhibit of Helen’s photographs will be on display at the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark from April 8 through June 24, 2017.

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

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



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