Strange Days, Dangerous Nights

An Exhibit at the Minnesota History Center
Dec. 10, 2004 - Aug. 14, 2005

The Minnesota Historical Society proudly presents Strange Days, Dangerous Nights, a photography exhibit based on the book Strange Days, Dangerous Nights: Photos From the Speed Graphic Era, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. The book, by Larry Millet, draws upon a rich collection of St. Paul Pioneer Press and St. Paul Dispatch photographs.

Minnesota’s own veteran journalist and author Larry Millett unearthed more than 200 Speed Graphic-era images – automobile accidents, urban curiosities, celebrities, fires, murders and any other news that fought for the hot spot on the Front Page – from the archives of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and St. Paul Dispatch, and created a book around the photos. The Minnesota Historical Society used 81 of the photos from the book as the focal point for a new exhibit.

History of the Speed Graphic Era
For three decades, starting in the 1930s and ending in the 50s, the Speed Graphic camera was synonymous with photojournalism. Championed by acclaimed photographers like Arthur Fellig (a.k.a. Weegee), the Speed Graphic was lightweight and incredibly durable – and it could produce stunning images. Press photographers of the day, driven by the desire to fill newspaper pages with sensational images, shot everything, day and night. Automobile accidents, fires, fat men’s races, children in distress and celebrities in rare form were just some of the urban curiosities splashed across the pages of city newspapers. In essence, photographers of the Speed Graphic era created a new visual style that was blunt, powerful and immediate. An evocative look at a fast-paced period of time, the book and corresponding exhibit offer a visual history of the era like no other. Strange Days, Dangerous Nights speaks to fans of photography and photojournalism, crime buffs and urban historians – and will provide a testament to the craft of those photographers who documented their era, one shot at a time.

Logo of the Saint Paul Pioneer PressThe exclusive media sponsor of the Strange Days, Dangerous Nights exhibit is the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.