Brandt, in common with many other photographers, later preferred not to admit to the constructed nature of some of his key pictures, many of which had by then taken their rightful place in the canon of social documentary – for the idea that ‘documentary’ photography can’t include setting up pictures should have been thrown out with the maid’s bathwater.
Newhall acknowledged both Weston’s and Adams’ help in preparing the 1937 (History of Photography) show. Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray (both adopted as ‘Americans’ for the purpose of history) also ‘assisted’. All these practitioners found themselves in the enviable position of helping to write themselves into history. I am not suggesting a conspiracy theory, but I simply want to emphasise that a small, all-powerful, museum-backed clique fashioned the medium’s ‘aesthetic history’.