Sonia Handelman Meyer’s pictures sat in storage for over six decades. She didn’t let the world know that inside her closet were some of the most poignant pictures of the 1940s and 50s. Her pictures were taken at some of the most controversial points in American history.
From the first integrated hospital to post-war Jewish refugees to anti-lynching rallies, Sonia was there to capture it all.
She was a member of the photo league; a group funded by and ultimately shut down by the government over communist allegations. Her passion for photography came while she was serving during World War Two in Puerto Rico… and by the time she returned to New York City, Sonia had found her calling. Raw talent propelled her career. Sonia took only one basic photography class. She never spent much time on the same subject and never returned to try and recapture a moment. Yet this is only her second exhibit. Her first was in 2007, which was over 60 years after some of these photos were taken. And the praise over her work has been phenomenal.
Though her work has happened in times that most cannot even fathom, Sonia sees an everlasting message for today’s society. “Still problems. Social justice. Racism. Classism. These photos make people aware of what’s happening and what has happened.”
Sonia’s exhibit, “Bearing Witness,” is taking place at the Mint Museum Randolph now through June 29.