Elinor B. (née Bonwit) Cahn, Baltimore photographer, was born in 1925. Perhaps best known for her collaboration with Linda Rich and Joan Netherwood on the East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project, Cahn’s images of Baltimore and its citizens are windows into the culture, neighborhoods, and daily life of everyday people during the 1970’s and 1980’s. UMBC holds Cahn’s entire archives, including her work with Rich and Netherwood in East Baltimore, images of Baltimore’s Greek community, Asklipios, Greece, the Vietnam Memorial and other cemeteries, a Baltimore soup kitchen, and photographs of Maine.
The photographs currently digitized in this collection are culled from her East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project images. The East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project started as a class assignment in instructor Linda Rich’s social documentary photography course at MICA in 1976, and grew into a 4-year grant funded endeavor among the three photographers. Cahn’s East Baltimore images show residents in their homes, at work, in places of worship, and enjoying leisure time activities. They include images of the community – its buildings, streets, and parks. They reveal deep ethnic and religious ties in the community. In all, Cahn’s photographs provide a rich glimpse into life in East Baltimore during the 1970’s.
The photographs in this selection are from the prints in our collection. There are many more negatives relating to East Baltimore as well as the other subjects covered in her full archives. More of Cahn’s images will be digitized in the future.
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Neighborhood: A state of mind [book]
UMBC's collection of Joan Netherwood's photographs
UMBC's collection of Linda Rich's photographs
Coming soon: Elinor Cahn collection complete inventory