The innovations of the 1920s and 30s also took hold in the world of graphic design, through the increasing use of photography. Greatly improved reproduction and printing technology was partly responsible for this development. Photography was viewed at first as the perfect medium for commercial purposes. Only later did it come to be seen as a weapon in the class war and associated with a progressive attitude. Schuitema said about his poster for the transport workers’ union: ’The masses and the individual are deliberately contrasted here. The masses are presented as one body, a whole, the silhouette of a man beckoning, his mouth shouting.’ The photograph behind the worker’s head is a reference to the dock industry. Two men who have not yet joined the union are running into the picture, at bottom left. ’Selection of colour for political and optical effect,’ noted Schuitema. He was referring to the red that reinforces the political aspect and the bright yellow that ensures the photographic message comes across loud and clear.
© Paul Schuitema/Nederlands Fotomuseum/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Makers

Translated title

Central Union 30,000 Transport Workers

Collection

Graphics

Production date

1930

Library

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Object number

P_N-III-227