About the Photographer
Born in Chicago in 1926, Archie Lieberman studied at the U.S. Navy Schools of Photography and Motion Picture Camera, in Pensacola, Florida, and later at the Institute of Design in Chicago, with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Aaron Siskind, and Buckminster Fuller. Embarking on a career as a freelance photographer, he was a member of the Black Star photography agency for ten years, after which point he worked independently. In addition to commercial and advertising commissions, Lieberman was highly active as a photojournalist, shooting over 120 stories for Look magazine between 1952 and 1972, and publishing photographic essays in other magazines, including LIFE, Time, Paris Match, and the Saturday Evening Post. Over the course of his career, Lieberman also pursued a large number of self-directed projects, eventually completing more than twenty books on diverse topics. Even in this capacity he approached his work more as a photojournalist than an artist. "I'm suspicious of people who talk about being creative," he once stated, "In my view, God is the only creator. We are discoverers. We discover things that have always existed and put them together in a new fashion that explains life."
One of Lieberman's longest running photographic projects was a twenty year study of life on a small farm in rural Illinois, spanning three generations, completed between 1954 and 1974. The photographs were eventually published as the book Farm Boy (1974). In 1983 Lieberman and his wife relocated permanently to a farm in Jo Daviess County, where he had previously photographed, although he maintained an office in Chicago, three hours away. Two years later Lieberman returned to photograph once more on the family farm in Jo Daviess Country for a new photographic commission. In the midst of an epidemic of farm foreclosures in 1985 the Focus Infinity Fund sponsored Lieberman, Tom Arndt, and Rhondal McKinney to photograph small farms in the Midwest for the documentary project Farm Families. Lieberman's photographs from this project document activities on the farm owned by the Grube family, but most of all they concentrate on the nature of family life in this setting, depicting the interactions between fathers and sons and events such as a family reunion.