Jacob Riis is considered to be one of the founders of social documentary photography. His work “How The Other Half Lives” (1890) documented living conditions in the tenements of Manhattan. He along with Lewis Hine have set a standard that is hard to duplicate. Riis’ photograph “Peddler Who Slept in the Cellar of 11 Ludlow Street” (1892) is shown below. It is one of the most famous images taken by Riis. We believe that our photo “Woman Asleep on the Floor“; Alabama c.1951 closely represents Riis’ style. We hope that he would approve.
Pray for the victims of Hurricane Florence. We are, all of us, in this together. Today, residents in the Carolinas are suffering, but tomorrow disaster could befall anyone. Do whatever you can to help. Staying silent is not acceptable. The lead photo is not from Hurricane Florence of course, but it does demonstrate the vulnerability of living near flowing water. That includes just about all of us. We call this photo “Sandbags“; U. S. c.1940. As the river is rising will the sandbags hold?
Always room for one more. If you do the crime, you’ve got to do the time. No one is above the law. True that Alcatraz is no more than a tourist attraction these days, but it once housed the most notorious criminals in our society. DPI’s prison collection contains more images of Alcatraz as well as other prisons some not so well known. Seen below is an image we call “Workin’ On The Chain Gang” taken in Florida in 1936.
Photo was taken during an anti-Vietnam War rally c. 1969. Funny how what goes around comes around. Education, vigilance and courage are the keys. How better to illustrate the issue than through the innocence of a child.
May the Force be with you. I wanna be a Spaceman. Will our Starship Troopers be similarly outfitted? Hey, it’s a bug planet! A little humor in times like these may help. Probably inspired by Flash Gordon, but that may be going back too far for some of you. Sometimes I wish that they could just beam me up, Scotty.
They could have been you. They could have been me. Refugees present a humanitarian crisis wherever and whenever to include the current situation on our southern border. Presented here are Polish refugees made homeless not once but twice in a generation. As a result of geography, Poland has experienced invasions in two world wars from both Germany and Russia. The lead photo shows Polish refugees on the road during the Great War c.1916. Perhaps some of the same people are seen below as they are once again forced to flee the Nazi invasion in September 1939
What is the significance, after all, of street photography if it does not provide society with a record of important moments captured for the historical record? Ahh, “the decisive moment” as Henri Cartier-Bresson would say. Well, here we may have just one of those significant, historical moments frozen in time by a talented street photographer.
The locale is San Francisco in sight of the ferry terminal building: “San Francisco Ferry Terminal” (1914). The date has been changed on the tower to 1915, but we are still in 1914 as these two men are in conversation on the street. Other men stand at the ready next to an automobile. Perhaps one or both of these men are very important? Perhaps they are discussing news of the Great War unfolding in Europe? In any case, a fine example of street photography proving that if you are serious about this craft it is necessary to always have your camera at the ready.
On another note, DPI is proud to announce that we have been listed at #40 of the top 50 photojournalism and blog sites by photojournalists for 2018 by Feedspot (https://blog.feedspot.com/photojournalism_blogs/).
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but trying to imitate the work of Dorothea Lange would be the equivalent of trying to copy da Vinci’s Mona Lisa! Not that it shouldn’t be done, it can’t be done!
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….”
At first glance you may not realize the significance of this image. We see a man on a staircase overlooking a railing. Only when we discover that the location is San Sebastián, Spain does the picture become clearer. This is Basque Country and the Basques are treated like second class citizens. Recently, the Basques have voted for independence only to be denied once again by the ruling Spanish government. When we observe the poverty surrounding the man in this image, “The Basques” c.1933, we begin to understand the reason for the Basque separatist movement.