Alexander Hammid

1907 - 2004 Artist

Page Contents


Born Alexandr Hackenschmied in 1907 in Linz, Hammid changed his name when he relocated to the United States in 1942.

As a young man Hammid moved to Prague and became extremely interested in the international avant-garde and in 1930 curated the "New Czech Photography" exhibition. Like many young filmmakers and artists he supported his practice with commercial work and was employed as a documentary and advertising filmmaker.

His early films included the experimental city symphony AIMLESS WALK (1930) and the architectural study THE PRAGUE CASTLE (1932).

He moved to the United States in 1942 to escape Nazi invasion and collaborated with Herbert Kline on an adaptation of John Steinbeck's FORGOTTEN VILLAGE. In Los Angeles Hammid met and married artist and dancer Maya Deren. Together Hammid and Deren collaborated on MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON, a landmark work of the Los Angeles avant-garde. Though Deren and Hammid eventually divorced he continued to work on her later films as a director of photography and film editor.

In the early 1960s Hammid began to experiment with multi-screen projection and became an innovator of Imax technology with work on films including TO BE ALIVE! and TO FLY.