Otto Hagel

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Otto Hagel
Born 1909
Fellbach, Germany
Died 1973
California, United States
Occupation photographer
Spouse(s) Hansel Mieth

Otto Hagel (1909–1973) was a German-born American photographer and filmmaker. He and his wife Hansel Mieth were part of the school of socially conscious documentary photo-journalists that included Dorothea Lange, Imogene Cunningham, Peter Stackpole and Robert Capa. In the early 1930s, Hagel was a member of the San Francisco Film and Photo League.

Hagel's photographs of waterfront workers are the basis of two books published by the West Coast ILWU: "Men and Ships: A Pictorial of the Maritime Industry (1937); and Men and Machines: A Story About Longshoring on the West Coast Waterfront (1963).

Hagel and Mieth photographed the inside of the Heart Mountain Japanese American internment camp for LIFE in 1943, but the photographs were not published by LIFE, In the 1950s, the couple was blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Hagel and Meith bought a working ranch in Santa Rosa, California in 1941, and raised chickens for some years. A book with photographs from the period was published, as well as a pictorial in LIFE magazine called “The Simple Life.” During World War II, Hagel, still a German national, was under detention at home.

An image by Hagel was included in Steichen’s Family of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955.

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