It has now been about five weeks since I have ventured outside my home. Retrieving the newspapers delivered on my front lawn, going to the mailbox and taking out the trash have been the extent of my movements outdoors. This morning I awoke to the sound of a lawnmower. Our lawn service has returned! I had not fertilized our lawn for fear that the service would not show up this year as they are based in one of the hardest hit areas of Long Island. Bienvenidos!
I was hospitalized twice in 2011 and once in 2018 when I underwent triple bypass heart surgery. If you have been reading our blogs you are already aware of my experiences. Without question I believe that our nurses have the most difficult of professions. When you are dealing with life and death situations from minute to minute nothing else compares. Having said that we are presenting our photo to you, “The Nurse“, c.1919. Taken in the time of an earlier pandemic about 100 years ago, the Spanish Flu. There are only a few people alive today who have lived through the Spanish Flu and the Coronavirus. Four generations later the more things change the more they stay the same.
Things could be worse as it was for this Texas farm family during the Great Depression. We feel extremely fortunate to be able to bring this photo to you as we pay homage to the work of the great Farm Security Administration photographers of the period such as Dorothea Lange. For us at DPI this was a no brainer.
Never again! Absence of toleration ultimately leads to genocide. Toleration is the basic principle which guides us here at DPI. If you come away with nothing else from viewing our images learn this lesson. Presented here is a view of the main entrance gate to Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria (May 1945). Sign reads “Juden Verboten”, translation “Jews Forbidden”. Small print states the edict of April 1938 enforcing this policy.
“Antisemitism“; Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria (May 1945)
DPI has a substantial collection of farm photographs. This recently acquired image, “American Farm“; U. S. c.1920 is somewhat unusual especially for the period. In the first place you are viewing roughly a 100 year old image. Note the windmill protruding from behind the roof of the main house. What caught our eye is the low angle of view at which the image was shot coupled with the wide angle image created by the camera lens. This wide angle shot is not typical for the period. As you can see the edges of the image are somewhat out of focus. They are soft. This is common for camera lenses of this period. But even today wide angle lenses suffer from barrel and pincushion distortions which are even more evident in zoom lenses. The more things change the more they stay the same.
In another time of trial and tribulation for our country. DPI presents one of our oldest images, “Comers Rock, Virginia c.1862“. “…Now we are engaged in a great civil war….” (Gettysburg Address) – November 19, 1863 – Abraham Lincoln.
It has been called by many names. Quarantine. Self-Isolation. Social Distancing. So in looking for the perfect description I turned to Hollywood. Eureka! Throw Mama From The Train (1987).
The night was sultry!
Having to stay home for an undetermined time period essentially feels like house arrest minus the ankle monitor. I think that this description comes closest to reality.
Working from home means no commuting time. More time to read our blogs I hope. The lead photo is the “Renwick Smallpox Hospital“; Roosevelt Island, New York City c.1980. I prefer to use one of the former names of the island, Blackwell’s Island. To me it has a ring to it. There is also a scene in Gangs of New York (2002) that uses this name as appropriate for the time period.
The quarantine. One day it will end. The only question is when and how many lives will be lost until we get there. “Paradise Beach“; U. S. Virgin Islands (1960).
Social Distancing. Quarantine. In the summer of 2003 I traveled through the American southwest from Denver to Las Vegas. We crossed the Rockies, stopped in Arches National Park, Colorado thence to Moab, Utah, the Four Corners, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon and eventually to Las Vegas. For me the high point of this trip was Monument Valley and the desert.