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.
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.
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.
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.
...fills another important need for art researchers. New Deal art is the product of the largest publicly funded arts program in American history and as such, holds a special attraction for collectors... --ANTIQUE WEEK ...a valuable reference resource. Highly recommended for all research collections serving American history and art.--LIBRARY JOURNAL
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.
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.
Describes the quality of health care for migrant workers and low-income farm families
- Author : Elizabeth Bloom Avery
- Publisher : Unknown
- Release Date : 2002
- Genre : Housing
- Pages : 536
- ISBN : OCLC:60499466
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."