Photo taken aboard the SS Pennsylvania somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean c.1900. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Pennsylvania_(1896) for details on this ship. Probably first class passengers, and I think this does give a sense of what life aboard the Titanic must have been like 12 years later.
Arkansas prison, “The Farm”. Maybe not as well known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, but a place to stay far away from if possible. Shown here is the water wagon used for the prisoners out in the fields (April 18, 1957). See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cummins_Unit for a full explanation of the goings on at Cummins.
All things being equal I believe that most photographers choose to take well focused images. However, there are certain situations where a soft focused image works much better. In the creative world of advertising, motion in a photograph created by blurring or panning adds a new element into an otherwise static, two dimensional image. This practice is also used in sports photography to great effect. But what about photojournalism and documentary photography?
“Born To Be Wild“; U. S. 1929. “Are you not entertained?” – Gladiator (2000). Maybe it’s just that I have been watching the film recently for the umpteenth time. Not only is it a great film, in my opinion, but relevant to today’s conversation. As you may know I was a high school Social Studies teacher in my former life. Before classes began each day at about 8 o’clock in the morning the department held an informal discussion about the day’s events over breakfast. Our department had many talented and perhaps overqualified teachers including several with Ph.Ds and law degrees. They represented the full spectrum of opinions from liberal to conservative.
I cannot think of a scenario in which a farm auction held in any time period is a joyful experience for the owner of the farm. Whether caused by environmental or financial circumstances or even death of the farmer the auction represents the end of an era for that individual farm. Those who attend the auction may find some real bargains, but there is a great sadness attached to these events. An estate sale is similar in that a person’s life can be seen by the material items left behind. What was important to this individual is on display. But in the case of a farm auction the sheer magnitude of the farm and farm implements, buildings and the people attending make for dramatic photojournalism.
Research on this photo leads us to the following assessment. This man is a migrant fruit picker in a camp in Washington State c. 1935. Known as ‘fruit tramps” these men traveled to Washington State to pick mainly apples most likely near Yakima. Such was life for many men during the Great Depression. Clearly the time of day was beer o’clock (Aussie slang).
Grandparents’ Day is celebrated on September 9 this year. After all, where would we be without them? A close examination of this photo, “Grandparents“; U. S. c.1950, tells us more about this couple. Note the work shoes on the man and the somewhat swollen feet of the woman. Possible indications of a failing heart for the woman and a life of hard work for the man.
The quotation may be recognized from the film “The International” (2009). Actually it dates to c. 1678 set down by the French fabulist Jean de la Fontaine in Fables. We believe that it illustrates our photo “Depression Farmer“; U. S. c. 1934 in ways that cannot be described otherwise.
A crime scene in Babylon, New York. Newsday (April 6, 2018) reported the discovery of decomposed human remains along North Railroad Avenue between Ralph Avenue and Livingston Avenue in Babylon, New York. Newsday provided only one photo with the report so we decided to give more coverage to this crime scene. The body was discovered along this quiet, suburban street which is somewhat isolated. To the south of the Long Island Railroad tracks is Hoffman (Railroad) Avenue, and a few blocks to the north is Park Avenue. Both of those are thru streets and are well traveled. North Railroad Avenue by contrast is mostly only frequented by the residents who live there.
Hitchhiker? Maybe. “Bound For Jackson (Mississippi)“; Mississippi (April 1955). Reminds us of the song “Jackson” sung by Johnny Cash and June Carter (1967). “We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout – We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson ever since the fire went out….”