A rare image deserves special recognition. “The Soup Kitchen”; U. S. c.1931. Possibly run by the Capuchin Services Center in Detroit. Note the cross on the sign, and note the box of Campbell’s soup carried by one of the men.
Another case of art imitating life. When we first saw this image the significance for us at DPI was instantaneous. One of the most acclaimed films is “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) starring Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as “Red”. Andy was sent to this fictional Shawshank prison in Maine in 1947. The photo in this blog was also taken in Maine at the Thomaston State Prison in 1940. The image shows the warden and several guards. The warden seems to even bear an uncanny resemblance to warden Norton in the film albeit a bit taller. It does make you wonder.
Note the “Home, Sweet, Home” sign. “His judgment cometh and that right soon”. An image almost too good to be true.
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 Maddox Scott Ritch, a missing 6 year old North Carolina boy with autism. He is nonverbal. Our lead photo is “Autistic Child Area“; West Babylon, N. Y. (September 15, 2018). In the rear of the photo there is a foreclosed home. Autism not only affects the child but the entire family. It remains a lifelong condition.
The quotation is from the movie “Hell or High Water” (2016). I believe any attempt by me to explain its significance would be futile. I strongly recommend that you see this movie. See Texas Settlers.
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?
Am I my brother’s keeper? You can turn away if you choose, but to become homeless with all that comes with it is only a paycheck away for many. Unfortunately. Desperate times require desperate measures. The lead photo we call “Feed the Children“; Holbrook, N. Y. (August 23, 2018). This is not about feeding children in a developing country. This is reality on Long Island.
Seen below is a cry for help from a person we choose to leave anonymous, “Rough Times“; Deer Park, N. Y. (September 6, 2018). We could have easily put a face on this situation, but I believe that sometimes an image can be even more powerful without including an individual. Judgment on the individual would be open for discussion. Without a face, the image represents all homeless people and so the magnitude of the problem is multiplied exponentially.
Breaking the rules can be fun. Sometimes what is left unsaid can make more of a statement than what would otherwise be obvious. Take the case of the lead photo, “Farmer Walks Away“; U. S. c.1933 (sepia added). We can only wonder what is going through this farmer’s mind as he walks through his barren field. Imagine the effect the image would have had he been facing the camera. Depending on his expression the difference might be subtle or create a completely alternate setting.
Inspiration for this image has been the work of the great Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado. We hope that he would approve. These oil men, (“Roughnecks“; Texas c.1919), are covered in oil as the well proves to be a gusher. Note the oil spray coming off the drill
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.