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Posts Tagged ‘farm security administration’

My colleague Bob put me on to a NY Times blog called “Lens,” and in particular, a post by James Estrin about a modest 2013 version of the Farm Security Administration’s photographic outreach of the 1930s.

He writes, “Just as the Farm Security Administration unleashed a team of photographers to chronicle the United States in the 1930s, Lens is beginning a new interactive project called ‘My Hometown.’

“In the coming months, we are asking high school students to help create a 21st century portrait of America, turning their cameras on their neighborhoods, families, friends and schools. …

“Participants must either be enrolled in high school or be 14 to 18 years old. All submissions must be uploaded under the supervision of a photography class teacher or program instructor by the May 1 deadline. …

“The resulting collection of photographs will be shown in an interactive gallery of several thousand pictures that will be sortable by geography or theme. We will also highlight select images in a series of posts on the Lens Blog. Many of the photos will be archived at the Library of Congress (just like the Farm Security Administration) photos. …

“If your high school or community-based photography program wants to participate, the instructor should contact the Lens editors by e-mail at lens.projects@gmail.com. …

“We will start accepting entries on March 20.” More.

As Bob commented to me, an initiative like this is likely to appeal to kids. Writing essays about one’s hometown might be harder to get charged up about, especially if you don’t feel like a writer. But everyone takes pictures, and some teens will be inspired to be artful with them.


Photograph: Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress/Farm Security Administration

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I really like Michelle Aldredge’s blog on writing and the arts, Gwarlingo. (The word gwarlingo, Aldredge says, is Welsh for the rushing sound a grandfather clock makes before striking, “the movement before the moment.”)

See my post about Gwarlingo and artistic Japanese manhole covers here.

This week Aldredge wrote that she had recently “stumbled across a small online collection of rare color images taken by photographers from the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information. The … photograph of Jack Whinery and his family was so remarkable and surprising that I immediately began exploring the online archive of the Library of Congress, which owns the images. The 1,610 Kodachrome transparencies were produced by FSA and OWI photographers like John Vachon, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, and Russell Lee. They are less well known and far less extensive than their black and white images, but their rarity only increases their impact.”

Check out the America in Transition photos.

*Jack Whinery, homesteader, and his family. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress*

Another great Gwarlingo post was on poetry bombing.

“Since 2001,” writes Aldredge, “the Chilean art collective Casagrande has been staging ‘Poetry Rain’ projects in cities like Warsaw, Berlin, Santiago de Chile, Dubrovnik, and Guernica – all cities that have suffered aerial bombings in their history. The most recent event took place in Berlin in 2010 and was part of the Long Night of Museums. Crowds of thousands gathered in the city’s Lustgarten as 100,000 poems rained down from the sky.” Read more here.

I also found a happy video.

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