IMAGES FROM THE FSA ROAD

Okies on the road
Okies on U.S. 66, March 1937
by Dorothea Lange

 

Text  by Bruce Berman

All Commentary (definitely) Subjective

 

The Farm Security Administration (FSA) started out to show government programs to the taxpaying public, to gain support for the New Deal agriculture initiatives of the Resettlement Administration (RA). From mid 1936 to late 1939 it did that but in the doing it found itself -pushed by the hand of its Director, Roy Stryker- documenting “American Life.”

The beginning of the FSA concentrated on the devastation of people and land of the agrarian sector but, as time went on, it broadened its image-making to include the way all Americans lived and worked.

The America of the 1930s is still out there, in the backlands, far away from the eyes of urban America. In fact, if one only learned of the interior of America from the mainstream media (all situated in urban America) one could not know that the America of the 1930s FSA is ongoing, alive, and functioning.

These images are a sample from the FSA road, a road I travel often, now, in 2015, seventy nine years after the creation of the FSA and their portrayal of America.

Then as now it is typified by open space, graphic simplicity and, agriculture and a sense of order now uncommon in urban America.

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Phonera

Images from NIGHT TREK series. I take strolls. I shot whatever I see. Like the old days before I was supposed to “be relevant.” The phonier is dumb, There’s always fingerprints (which one forgets to wipe off) because it’s in my pocket with change, keys, debris. I’m not caring because the point isn’t to be a photographer but to stroll. I think Cartier-Bresson said something about a photographer needs to be a good “stroller.”

I’m a good stroller anyway.

All these were shot on the mobile phone camera three days ago, Monday, May 21, in the Segundo barrio, the place that I stroll often and for years.

 

The quality of the  “tech” is marginal.

Admittedly.

BUT, the liberation of just being another idiot with a cell phone, priceless!

The mobile phone returns one (especially one who no longer looks like a Spring Chicken) to the roots, invisibility, just another vato in the ‘hood. I hate bad technique, but, I love being FOW again (fly on the wall).

What do you think? Lower technique but higher involvement? Or go for higher technique and be the outsider jamming that thing into people’s lives?

Are Phonera’s a democratizing Good Thing?

 

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Bruce Berman Shoots Juárez

[flagallery gid=1 name=”Gallery”]

 

El Paso —-

Bruce shoots Juárez. Reluctantly and with remorse.

Since 2008 the photographer has been documenting the aftermath of violence in the troubled northern Mexico city. His interest is in the effect of the Cartel War on the population of the city, particularly the effect on the children of the city who have grown up knowing little else.

His current work is in a mental institution in the city, what he refers to as “The House Of The Abandoned.”.

The body of work -The Other Truth- will appear on this site on November 18th.

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Henri Rocks

Is Photojournalism Dead Yet?

by Bruce Berman

A whole generation of street photographers have emerged in the digital era.

In fact there is a book dedicated to the subject that has over one hundred street photographers published.

I do not know one name.

What one can glean from this book and the plethora of postings on Facebook, Flickr, and other social media sites is that there are still photograp0hers who go into the streets with intention, commitment and courage and dance with the uncertainty of the randomness of street photography.

For a very good example of this work, visit http://www.street-photographers.com.

The work is good!

Another interesting site is on Vimeo and is produced by the prodigious street photographer Chris Weeks:

Street Photography: Documenting the Human Condition – Part One of Three from Chris Weeks on Vimeo.

But, in the end -and most street photographers acknowledge this- there is still the master of the Decisive Moment, The Man (!), Henri Cartier-Brsson. His work is still fresh, still charming, still brilliantly composed and still a model for a generation, shooting now, who’s grandparents were barely born when Henri was snapping away with his new found Leica.

For a thrilling and significant look at Bresson’s work, view the video below.

Contacts Henri Cartier Bresson english subbed from Ricardo J. Martins on Vimeo.

The next post will be an in depth look at street photography in thjis era, the era of post 9/11 street paranoia, digital speed and, seemingly, the “we have already seen everything,” media.

For now, Henri still rocks.

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