Peggy Crawford is an American photograher over ninety years old. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, she graduated from Smith College, after spending her Junior Year in France. She was a founder and first director of the Cincinnati Modern Art Society (now the Contemporary Arts Center). In 1942 she married Canadian-American painter Ralston Crawford, and from then on the Crawfords lived in many places. During World War II home was Washington DC, but afterwards, until Ralston died in 1978, they were basically New Yorkers. Their sons, Robert, Neelon and John are all artists.
Peggy Crawford’s life interests stretch in many
directions, but the art of seeing has always been
paramount. The subject matter of her photographs ranges from nature to children to portraits to bullfights to cityscapes to architecture to East Harlem to China and finally, with great emphasis, to the Yemen Arab Republic at the southwestern point of the Arabian peninsula. There is a common denominator in all her pictures composition, the abstract interaction of space, light and color, as well as a gently expressed love of life.
In 1985 French doctor Claudie Fayein, an honorary citizen of Yemen, and a dear friend since the ‘50s, invited Crawford to accompany her on a visit to Yemen. Crawford writes: “Seeing Yemen for the first time with Claudie Fayein made possible experiences I could never have had as a tourist or independent photographer. I was able to take informal photographs, not always easy, for there is a lot of tension around taking pictures of women. Yemen delighted my eyes and captured my heart from the start. Its extraordinary architectural traditions date back 3000 years. Its mountains, terraces, plains and deserts make me feel as if I am walking about in a cubist painting. During my many visits I have traveled a great deal. After unification of North and South Yemen in 1990 I was able to go to little known areas like Wadi Khabb in the Barat mountains and to visit Wadi Hadramaut (mentioned in the Old Testament) and Wadi Doan in the South. Yemen hospitality is traditional. In my more than twenty years’ experience of Yemen, I have always been warmly welcomed. Westerners who visit Yemen tend to go back many times.