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All Available Light:
The Life and Legacy of
Photographer Ted Polumbaum

Biography of an inadvertent photographer and lifelong social activist as reconstructed by his daughter. With plenty of pictures.


"Do yourself a favor and read the highly original All Available Light, which is really three books in one, each of which deepens one's understanding of the others: A loving daughter's memoir of her late father, a Cold War account of the courage it took not to name names during the McCarthyite years (which he didn't), and an erudite but easily accessible account of how a caring photographer goes about making the images that are still very much still with us."―Victor S. Navasky, author of Naming Names, former editor and publisher of The Nation


"This page-turner of a biography embedded in a family memoir could hardly be more timely. The story of a man who bravely stood up to American demagogues in the 1950s--and the life he made after his first career was destroyed--is invigorating reading. A lifetime before digital photography remade his craft, Ted Polumbaum's images offer us humane visions of truth."―Linda K. Kerber, author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship


"All Available Light is a riveting memoir of the Red Scare and one of its little-known targets, an inspired tale of a man who fought back and won, a daughter's touching tribute to her dad, and a story for our times as well as Ted Polumbaum's."―Larry Tye, author of Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy


"All Available Light is a riveting tale of courage, talent and moral certitude. Set in the watershed years of the twentieth century, with the crazed anti-communism of the 1950s as its fulcrum, this perceptive page- turning biography weaves together family, politics and global issues to recount the admirable life of Theodore Polumbaum. Fired as a newswriter for defying the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1953, Ted turned to photography and, traveling the world, created some of the century's most stunning social justice photographs for LIFE magazine and many other publications."―Martin J. Sherwin (1937-2021, RIP), author of Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis