WELCOME TO AMERICA AND ALL THAT GAS

Bracero fumigatio, Leonard Nadal

Bracero workers being fumigated, 1956,
Photograph by Leonard Nadel, NMAH,
History of Technology Collections,

Photo by Leonard Nadel

Editor’s Note: The Bracero program addressed the issue of demand for labor and the need for work. It was a cooperative program that allowed America’s work needs to utilize the need  of Mexico’s workers’ need for employment. It was legal, it was effective and it was a clear win-win program. Therefore it did not last. Too logical. And here we are now, 52 years later, with America needing workers, Mexicans needing employment and total chaos at the border. One could ask, is this chaos or planned exploitation?

Here is a mini-history of the Bracero Program. Let the discussion begin.

Text by Smithsonian National Museum of American History The Bracero program (1942 through 1964) allowed Mexican nationals to take temporary agricultural work in the United States. Over the program’s 22-year life, more than 4.5 million Mexican nationals were legally contracted for work in the United States (some individuals returned several times on different contracts). Mexican peasants, desperate for cash work, were willing to take jobs at wages scorned by most Americans. The Braceros’ presence had a significant effect on the business of farming and the culture of the United States. The Bracero program fed the circular migration patterns of Mexicans into the U.S.

Several groups concerned over the exploitation of Bracero workers tried to repeal the program. The Fund for the Republic supported Ernesto Galarza’s documentation of the social costs of the Bracero program. Unhappy with the lackluster public response to his report, Strangers in Our Fields, the fund hired magazine photographer Leonard Nadel to produce a glossy picture-story exposé.

Presented here is a selection of Nadel’s photographs of Bracero workers taken in 1956: shttp://s.si.edu/1gRD3VJ for Nadel’s photographs and other resources.

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LANGE AND HER TRANSCRIBED TEXT

Dorothea Lange and the Walkers “Toward Los Angeles.”California,

March 1937 by Dorothea Lange for FSA

 “Next Time Try The Train– Relax.”  

Lange captioned this with the walkers own words: “Well– give me the fare and I will, buddy.  We ain’t walkin’ for our health…”

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The Funklands

The Funklands are where you find them, and, when.

Bruce Berman started this project when he was in his early 20s, in the 1970s, and just starting out in photography. He cruised the highways and the low-ways of America, no particular agenda, stopping often (to the consternation of those driving with him), always looking for the funk, the detritus of other eras, the iconography of his youth and the times before him.

This America is now almost gone. It hangs over bars in places like Austin or Madison, Los Angeles or Chicago. The Funklands have turned into “Fly Over” territory, still there, still quasi rural, but  now, unrobed. The structure of the Funklands, textured, bold, spectacular, has been replaced by franchised plastic, flatness, sameness.

We celebrate corporate identity in the iconography of now, not roosters and skeletons and old Cadillacs.

The Funk has turned from delight to nothingness. Occasionally  there is a McDonald’s that riffs on a local theme, but pretty much not.

The Funk is hard to find.

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Looking Back At Portugal At Night

Restoration Square, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: Horácio Novais Studio

A beautiful set of photos of Portugal at night, through the years, shot on Portugal Day.
Officially observed only in Portugal, Portuguese citizens and emigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. The date commemorates the death of national literary icon Luís de Camões on 10 June 1580.

SEE: http://www.photography-news.com/2010/06/lisbon-10-night-views.html?goback=%2Egde_1641777_member_123023198

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The Killer Of Film

Bermaloid of the film shelf, May 2012

Commentary by Professor B KIller

Is it really over? Film? Well, actually that’s impossible. Film is any medium that can hold an image (my translation).

But is it  that film that has silver on it on an “acetate” base is over with?

Pretty much.

I teach at a university. I’ve been there for four years. When I got there I was shocked to find out that they still had darkrooms. For one reason or another we kept them. I couldn’t arrive on the job, announce “The Darkrooms Are Dead” and be the killer!

And, as we went on, the students kept saying, “We love this.”

Well, some did. Soime hated it. Some loved and hated it. Many went on to be excellent photographers (in digital).

The point was that they were still learning some good lessons -as I and my generation did- in that dim room, swathed in yellow-red light, interacting with each other as they struggled with the old wet process of film and enlarged prints.

Cool but archaic.

So, here we are, at the end of another year, and as I look forward I struggle, once again, with the idea of being the Killer.

Anyone out there have any comments on this? Opinions? Experience with being the Killer Of The Darkroom or having fought off the axe of extinction?

Register on the blog and let me know.

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