I’m reading ‘Change me into Zeus’s daughter’ by Barbara Robinette Moss. A memoir about growing up the best you can with the little bit you got. While I never intended for readings to influence new subjects on this blog, Barbara Moss has reminded me of a powerful photo by Dorthea Lange ‘Migrant Mother’. Dorthea Lange is remembered for her images of proud and destitute sharecroppers from the South and of the people who moved west in search of a brighter future during the depression. In the 1930’s, America was going through tremendous changes and Dorthea Lange was there to document the lives that it affected. When a photo journalist gets the perfect photo, there truly is ‘No caption needed’. The photo becomes a narrative ‘A poetic vehicle for the operation of historical forces’.
The Portrait of ‘Migrant Mother’ Nipoma, CA 1935 has all the suffering of mankind in her but all the perseverance too.
For some, photography is a tool for bringing public awareness. For me, It was Lewis Hine who mastered that purpose with a camera. He used photography as a means to build a template for social reform. In 1906 Hine began to do freelance photography for the National Child Labor Committee to document violation’s of existing labor laws. Though many children in his photographs died without ever telling their stories, Hines record of the conditions helped change labor laws in the US.
Specifically here, it is the paper boys who have my attention. As kids, they lived grown up. In the early 1900’s being 5 or 6 and poor meant that you worked. Compared to 12 hours in a cannery, the ironworks or the coal mines, selling newspapers sounds like soft work, but newsies were not employed. They bought the papers outright and it was not unusual for an 8-year-old kid to walk the streets all night until the last paper was sold.
For all of his social reform and political success, Lewis Hine also angered capitalists and as a result had difficulty earning money in the final years of his life. His photographs are some of the most impressive in history and his successful documentaries can be found in museums, The Library of Congress and notable books of photography.
Gotta give a shout out to Amanda Trawick!!! Who will officially b a librarian next week along with her artist/songstress endeavors. Thanks Amanda for the you tube link above.…yes, Bob Marley would definitely approve. Congratulations! Hope to see you soon. Much grace.