Arnold Eagle | Filmmakers on Folkstreams

Arnold Eagle

From the New York Times October 1992

Arnold Eagle, a documentary photographer in the 1930's and 40's who later worked as a cinematographer for Robert Flaherty and Hans Richter, died on Sunday at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 82 years old and lived in Manhattan.

He was born in Hungary and immigrated to New York City with his family in 1929, at the age of 19. In 1932, he joined the Film and Photo League, an organization devoted to documentary photography and newsreels, and two years later he undertook a study of Orthodox Jews on the Lower East Side. At Home Only With God, a collection of his pictures from this project, is to be published shortly by Aperture.

In 1935, Mr. Eagle joined the Works Project Administration as a photographer, and in subsequent years produced documentary studies of New York City slums and the Second Avenue El. Mr. Eagle also worked as a freelance photographer for Fortune, The Saturday Evening Post and other magazines, and in 1945 he joined the documentary project organized by Roy Stryker for Standard Oil of New Jersey. While photographing oil drilling in Louisiana he met Flaherty, and later worked as a cinematographer and still photographer on the production of Louisiana Story (1948), Flaherty's classic documentary film.

Mr. Eagle was also the cinematographer on Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947), a feature-length Surrealist movie by Richter, and he made several documentary films himself.

In 1955, Mr. Eagle joined the faculty of the New School for Social Research, where he taught film making until shortly before his death.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a sister, Gladys Roberts of San Diego, and three stepchildren: Susan and Masahiko Kosugi of New York City, and David Goldman of San Francisco.