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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HAPPY HOUR EL PASO

Text and photograph by Bruce Berman

 

El Paso is in transition. It was always complicated. There was the whole “Southwest” thing and then again, there was the whole Chicanismo thing, and then again there was the cowboy thing, and then again there was a certain ex Pat vibe for 60s and 70s refugees who never went home.

And there was the growing suburban thing, the Ohio is too cold and El Paso is affordable tilt.

Viva complication!

Now El Paso is getting more simple. It is trying to spruce itself up and become a destination. They have a baseball team downtown now, and a restored fancy movie theater within walking distance of it and there are bicycle riders and bicycle lanes everywhere ( a sure sign that the “texture days” are done).

It’s still El Paso but some (real estate developers and those that are young that can’t quite make it out) hunger for it to be Cincinnati. Good luck.

For those who have known El Paso for many decades, to see court jester-dressed bicyclists pedaling through downtown is jarring. It is a pure contrast to the bruised authenticity that has been El Paso’s greatest strength (for me), for those of us who have been hiding here.

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Little House on Wheels In New Mexico

Van and palms, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 2015
Van and palms, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 2015

Text and Photograph by Bruce Berman

Funk.

There’s a little left.

The era of funk is passing.

What’s left is either pure decay or rot from an era of plastic, synthetics and lack of design distinction.

What would you rather see, a decaying car from the 40s, 50’s or 60s or a decaying anything from afterwards? Afterwards it’s just junk that was of little endearment before it fell into disuse.

Besides, the stuff from the post war era is almost gone, all hung up in bars in places like Austin, Portland, Cincinnati, Boca Raton and Chicago.

Authentic ruin is hard to come by. It’s a good investment for those who aspire to never ever actually live with it.

The “backlands” of the USA are either redeveloped or falling into unlivable ruin.

There are people in there, by choice or circumstance.

My next era of work will be an exploration of Authentic Ruin in the Backlands.

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