An American Crisis (from Dorothea Lange)

Dorothea Lange, Resettlement Administration ph...
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References to the “Great Depression” of the 1930s shadow us now as we face another great financial crisis. But what do we really know of that difficult time, before the ken of most now living? Statistics may defy our imagination but photography of the period conveys some of the harsh realities that many lived.

1939 was so the year An American Exodus was published, a landmark in the history of photographic books. Dorothea Lange (famous for immigrant mother) and Taylor had produced a remarkable study of displaced rural families with innovative text-photo interactions. Lange’s friend, Ansel Adams, with whom she later did several photographic projects, had agreed to make prints for the book, but Lange could not get her boss in Washington, to release the negatives. She finally went to D.C. to supervise the printing herself at the FSA lab with Stryker doing his best to get her out of there.

If one reads the book, one might notice the similarities with our modern times. Greed, flexibility, focus on coat creating farmers (sharecroppers) to move. Frightening in its analysis, frightening in the parallels….

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