Amid the ravages of the Great Depression, the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) was first founded in 1935 to address the countryrsquo;s rural poverty. Its efforts focused on improving the lives of sharecroppers, tenants, and very poor landowning farmers, with resettlement and collectivization programs, as well as modernized farming methods. In a parallel documentation program, the FSA hired a number of photographers and writers to record the lives of the rural poor and ldquo;introduce America to Americans.rdquo; This book records the full reach of the FSA program from 1935 to 1943, honoring its vigor and commitment across subjects, states, and stylistic preferences. The photographs are arranged into four broad regional sections but are allowed to speak for themselves.
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Between 1935 and 1942, photographers for the New Deal's Resettlement Administration-Farm Security Administration (FSA) captured in powerfully moving images the travail of the Great Depression and the ways of a people confronting radical social change. Those who speak of the special achievement of FSA photography usually have in mind such white icons as Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother or Walker Evans's Alabama sharecroppers. But some six thousand printed images, a tenth of FSA's total, included black figures or their dwellings. At last, Nicholas Natanson reveals both the innovative treatment of African Americans in FSA photographs and the agency's highly problematic use of these images once they had been created. While mono-dimensional treatments of blacks were common in public and private photography of the period, such FSA photographers as Ben Shahn, Arthur Rothstein, and Jack Delano were well informed concerning racial problems and approached blacks in a manner that avoided stereotypes, right-wing as well as left-wing. In addition, rather than focusing exclusively on FSA-approved agency projects involving blacks - politically the safest course - they boldly addressed wider social and cultural themes. This study employs a variety of methodological tools to explore the political and administrative forces that worked against documentary coverage of particularly sensitive racial issues. Moreover, Natanson shows that those who drew on the FSA photo files for newspapers, magazines, books, and exhibitions often entirely omitted images of black people and their environment or used devices such as cropping and captioning to diminish the true range of the FSA photographers' vision.
In the 1930s and 1940s, as the United States moved from a rural to an urban nation, the pull of the city was irrepressible. It was so strong that even a photographic mission designed to record the essence of rural America could not help but capture the energy of urbanization too. To the City showcases over 100 photographs from the Farm Security Administration (FSA) project along with extracts from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) guidebooks and oral histories, to convey the detail and dimensions of that transformation. This artfully grouped collection of photographs includes magnificent images by notable photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Gordon Parks, among many others. Foulkes organizes this history of Americana into five themes: Intersection; Traffic; High Life and Low Life; The City in the Country; and Citizens to illuminate the changes in habits, landscapes, and aspirations that the march to cities encompassed. As the rural past holds symbolic sway and the suburb presents demographic force, the urban portion of our history—why and how cities have been a destination for hope—recedes from view. To the City is a thoughtful, engaging reminder.
Although critics defended the trend, arguing that truly visionary art transcended politics, Bezner notes that the cold war era effectively silenced some of the most socially engaged photographers in American society."--BOOK JACKET.
Upon entering the White House in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced an ailing economy in the throes of the Great Depression and rushed to transform the country through recovery programs and legislative reform. By 1934, he began to send professional photographers to the state of West Virginia to document living conditions and the effects of his New Deal programs. The photographs from the Farm Security Administration Project not only introduced “America to Americans,” exposing a continued need for government intervention, but also captured powerful images of life in rural and small town America.New Deal Photographs of West Virginia, 1934-1943 presents images of the state's northern and southern coalfields, the subsistence homestead projects of Arthurdale, Eleanor, and Tygart Valley, and various communities from Charleston to Clarksburg and Parkersburg to Elkins. With over one hundred and fifty images by ten FSA photographers, including Walker Evans, Marion Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, and Ben Shahn, this collection is a remarkable proclamation of hardship, hope, endurance, and, above all, community. These photographs provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of West Virginians during the Great Depression and beyond.
As time passes, personal memories of the Great Depression die with those who lived through the desperate 1930s. In the absence of firsthand knowledge, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and the photographs produced for the New Deal’s Farm Security Administration (FSA) now provide most of the images that come to mind when we think of the 1930s. That novel and those photographs, as this book shows, share a history. Fully exploring this complex connection for the first time, Picturing Migrants offers new insight into Steinbeck’s novel and the FSA’s photography—and into the circumstances that have made them enduring icons of the Depression. Looking at the work of Dorothea Lange, Horace Bristol, Arthur Rothstein, and Russell Lee, it is easy to imagine that these images came straight out of the pages of The Grapes of Wrath. This should be no surprise, James R. Swensen tells us, because Steinbeck explicitly turned to photographs of the period to create his visceral narrative of hope and loss among Okie migrants in search of a better life in California. When the novel became an instant best seller upon its release in April 1939, some dismissed its imagery as pure fantasy. Lee knew better and traveled to Oklahoma for proof. The documentary pictures he produced are nothing short of a photographic illustration of the hard lives and desperate reality that Steinbeck so vividly portrayed. In Picturing Migrants, Swensen sets these lesser-known images alongside the more familiar work of Lange and others, giving us a clearer understanding of the FSA’s work to publicize the plight of the migrant in the wake of the novel and John Ford’s award-winning film adaptation. A new perspective on an era whose hardships and lessons resonate to this day, Picturing Migrants lets us see as never before how a novel and a series of documentary photographs have kept the Great Depression unforgettably real for generation after generation.
"Economies of Valuation and Desire: How New Deal Photography Made the Amish Modern" connects two substantial bodies of scholarship: the visual culture of the New Deal, and twentieth-century visual and literary representations of religious sub-cultures in the United States. Its primary objectives are two-fold. First, it provides an alternative model for the Great Depression as a historical narrative and popular concept in the American imagination. The images at the center of my dissertation propose a counter-narrative to those typically offered, which describe great waves of migration across the landscape - narratives of Okies, and other de-territorialized American identities moving through shifting topographies of loss and renewal. In contrast, the earliest group of photographs to depict consenting Amish subjects in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania make visible an American community's firm rootedness to a particular place, and moreover, the cost of that endurance to other citizens. Second, the project contributes to the field of Anabaptist Studies a critical assessment of twentieth-century photographs of the photography-averse Amish, a subject that has yet to receive consideration in any field. Since they arose as a distinct group within the Amish Church in 1865, the Old Order have exercised serious proscriptions against photography as both act and object. Yet images of Amish individuals have proliferated in American visual culture since the early twentieth century and contribute to our collective idea of the community as insular, old-fashioned, and curiously benign. A particular set of New Deal photographs act as a pivot point in a history of picturing the Old Order - they are paradoxical images because they present the Anabaptist community as nearly extinct on the periphery of the modern world, yet also a viable threat to central tenets of multiple modernisms. Furthermore, it is precisely the Old Order's particular objections to photography that constitute some of t
The Bitter Years was the title of a seminal exhibition held in 1962 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, curated by Edward Steichen, and 2012 marks its 50th anniversary. The show featured 209 images by photographers who worked under the aegis of the US Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 193541 as part of Roosevelts New Deal. The Great Depression of the 1930s defined a generation in modern American history and was still a vivid memory in 1962. The FSA, set up to combat rural poverty, included an ambitious photography project that launched many photographic careers, most notably those of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange. The exhibition featured their work as well as that of ten other FSA photographers, including Ben Shahn, Carl Mydans and Arthur Rothstein. Their images are among the most remarkable in documentary photography testimonies of a people in crisis, hit by the full force of economic turmoil and the effects of drought and dust storms. The Bitter Years celebrates some of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century and, since no proper catalogue was produced at the time, provides a whole new insight into Steichen's impact on the history of documentary photography."
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) became well-known for her documentary photography during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" in the 1930ies. She was hired by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) to document working and living conditions of migrant workers in California. Trained as portrait photographer in San Francisco she soon developed her own documentary style and discussed it vividly with other photographers like Willard Van Dyke, Ansel Adams or Edward Weston. This book traces back her career as documentary photographer, how she interacted with contemporaries, and poses the question if she really succeeded in approaching her subjects without influencing them (like she always claimed she would do). "Dorothea Lange - Her Approach To The Documentary Style During FDR's New Deal" is a personal portray of an extraordinary photographer and her social and professional environment.
In the collections of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress are more than 1500 photographs of the state of Michigan during the depression and wartime years of the 1930s and 1940s, taken by some of the most talented photographers of that generation. The FSA photographs have become the nation's visual memory of these trying times. Michigan Remembered contains 150 of these images, chosen to represent various geographic areas of Michigan, the economic diversity of the state and its people, and a broad range of subjects ranging from urban and industrial scenes of Detroit and the surrounding areas to images of the Upper Peninsula and rural and community life in the Lower Peninsula. The two introductory essays enhance the story told by the photographs. The first, by William H. Mulligan Jr., recounts the history of Michigan during the momentous events of the depression and wartime years. The second, by Constance B. Schulz, tells the lesser known story of the origins of the FSA in the agricultural program of the New DeaL and exlains the importance of Roy E. Stryker as the agency's director and the process by which more than 200,000 photographs were accumulated in the FSA/OWI files. Brief biographical sketches of the photographers include descriptions of their travels and work in Michigan. Michigan Remembered joins more than a dozen other state studies of the FSA/OWI photographs and provides a unique visual perspective on a key midwestern state during the mid-twentieth century. It will be of interest both to scholars of historical documentary photography and Michigan history, and to those fascinated by historical photographs of years which they, their parents, or their grandparents can still recall.
- Author : Stuart S. Kidd
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2004
- Genre : History
- Pages : 299
- ISBN : 0773465103
While previous studies of the photographic images of the U.S. southern poor produced by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) have been discussed in the context of individual photographers or the general culture of the Great Depression and the New Deal, Kidd (American history, U. of Reading, UK) situates his examination of the photographs in the institutional context of the FSA and the role played in photographic production by FSA administrator Roy Stryker. The photographs emerged, according to Kidd, from the dialogue between Stryker and his field photographers about the proper way to document disadvantaged and oppressed groups within the framework of a progressive, federal government. The resulting productions reveal "an uneasy dimension to the relationship between individual and the liberal state and its cadres" that is partly an outcome of class cleavages between photographer and subject. Annotation : 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com).
- Author : Carol Quirke
- Publisher : Routledge
- Release Date : 2019-03-07
- Genre : History
- Pages : 212
- ISBN : 9780429647970
Dorothea Lange, Documentary Photography, and Twentieth-Century America charts the life of Dorothea Lange (1895–1965), whose life was radically altered by the Depression, and whose photography helped transform the nation. The book begins with her childhood in immigrant, metropolitan New York, shifting to her young adulthood as a New Woman who apprenticed herself to Manhattan’s top photographers, then established a career as portraitist to San Francisco’s elite. When the Great Depression shook America’s economy, Lange was profoundly affected. Leaving her studio, Lange confronted citizens’ anguish with her camera, documenting their economic and social plight. This move propelled her to international renown. This biography synthesizes recent New Deal scholarship and photographic history and probes the unique regional histories of the Pacific West, the Plains, and the South. Lange’s life illuminates critical transformations in the U.S., specifically women’s evolving social roles and the state’s growing capacity to support vulnerable citizens. The author utilizes the concept of "care work," the devalued nurturing of others, often considered women’s work, to analyze Lange’s photography and reassert its power to provoke social change. Lange’s portrayal of the Depression’s ravages is enmeshed in a deeply political project still debated today, of the nature of governmental responsibility toward citizens’ basic needs. Students and the general reader will find this a powerful and insightful introduction to Dorothea Lange, her work, and legacy. Dorothea Lange, Documentary Photography, and Twentieth-Century America makes a compelling case for the continuing political and social significance of Lange’s work, as she recorded persistent injustices such as poverty, labor exploitation, racism, and environmental degradation.
In 1935, the United States Congress began employing large numbers of American artists through the Works Progress Administration--fiction writers, photographers, poster artists, dramatists, painters, sculptors, muralists, wood carvers, composers and choreographers, as well as journalists, historians and researchers. Secretary of Commerce and supervisor of the WPA Harry Hopkins hailed it a "renascence of the arts, if we can call it a rebirth when it has no precedent in our history." Women were eminently involved, creating a wide variety of art and craft, interweaving their own stories with those of other women whose lives might not otherwise have received attention. This book surveys the thousands of women artists who worked for the U.S. government, the historical and social worlds they described and the collaborative depiction of womanhood they created at a pivotal moment in American history.
ArizonaÕs art history is emblematic of the story of the modern West, and few periods in that history were more significant than the era of the New Deal. From Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams to painters and muralists including Native American Gerald Nailor, the artists working in Arizona under New Deal programs were a notable group whose art served a distinctly public purpose. Their photography, paintings, and sculptures remain significant exemplars of federal art patronage and offer telling lessons positioned at the intersection of community history and culture. Art is a powerful instrument of historical record and cultural construction, and many of the issues captured by the Farm Security Administration photographers remain significant issues today: migratory labor, the economic volatility of the mining industry, tourism, and water usage. Art tells important stories, too, including the work of Japanese American photographer Toyo Miyatake in ArizonaÕs internment camps, murals by Native American artist Gerald Nailor for the Navajo Nation Council Chamber in Window Rock, and African American themes at Fort Huachuca. Illustrated with 100 black-andwhite photographs and covering a wide range of both media and themes, this fascinating and accessible volume reclaims a richly textured story of Arizona history with potent lessons for today.
Between the winter of 1936 and the autumn of 1942, nine government photographers (Carl Mydans, Arthur Rothstein, Russell Lee, Marion Post, Edwin and Louise Rosskam, Jack Delano, Fritz Henle and Al Freeman) traveled to Vermont on behalf of the U.S. government's Historical Section. What began as an effort to record for Washington bureaucrats the means whereby one of the nation's poorer regions coped with the Depression, New Deal economics, and the approach of World War, became, under the passionate and inexhaustible direction of Roy Stryker, the most sweeping U.S. government cultural history project ever undertaken in Vermont. In Looking Back at Vermont, Nancy Price Graff has painstakingly selected, from the about 1,600 project Vermont negatives housed at the Library of Congress, thirty-two representative images of Vermonters at work and play. This collection peerlessly documents Vermont's breathtaking beauty and the state's heartbreaking poverty. Graff's engaging and well-written accompanying text includes pieces on the work of the Historical Section, Roosevelt's America, the individual photographers involved in the project, photography as a new visual language in this, the age which saw the launch of Life and Look magazines, and the progress of the already flourishing art of Vermont photography.
- Author : Michael L. Carlebach
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 1993
- Genre : Photography
- Pages : 127
- ISBN : 0813012120
"A first-time presentation of significant and historically important photographs showing what life was like . . . for a substantial number of people living and working in Florida during the 1930s. . . . The photographs alone make a significant contribution to scholarship."--Samuel Proctor, University of Florida "I want you to take pictures of everything you can find of what's happening to the people," Roy Emerson Stryker told the staff of the photography project of the Farm Security Administration, a New Deal agency. "I think you are going to find it in the faces of the people." From 1935 to 1943 FSA photographers combed the countryside, "making and disseminating images that explained America to Americans while they raised public and congressional support for Franklin D. Roosevelt's more controversial farm programs." The basic concern of the FSA was agriculture, Stryker said. "Dust, migrants, sharecroppers. Our job was to educate the city dweller to the needs of the rural population." Michael Carlebach and Eugene Provenzo, Jr., examine the work of the FSA in Florida as revealed in ninety-four images made by photographers John Collier, Dorothea Lange, Carl Mydans, Gordon Parks, Marion Post Wolcott, and Arthur Rothstein. The work of Stryker's photography unit was described many years later by Arthur Rothstein: "There was a feeling that you were in on something new and exciting, a missionary sense of dedication to this project, of making the world a better place to live in." Like the rest of the South, rural Florida was desperately poor during the depression. Per capita income in the state dropped from $510 in 1929 to $298 in 1933, and 157 banks permanently closed their doors between 1928 and 1940. Many of the FSA photographs illustrate how poor men, women, and children lived, worked, and survived during hard times. Balancing images of the impoverished are those of ordinary tourists, of the middle-class residents of small towns and villages, and of the well-to-do in ci