Photo Essays, Spot News and Stock Photography
Central City, Kentucky  c.1934

“PARADISE” (1971) By John Prine

This recent addition to our collection initially reminded us of the photo “Ditched, Stalled and Stranded” (1935) taken by Dorothea Lange in the San Joaquin Valley, California. However, research has uncovered a previously unknown significance of this image. “Central City, Kentucky c.1934” is just a stone’s throw from Paradise, Kentucky. “Paradise”, the song, was made famous by John Prine. This song is considered by many to be the unofficial national anthem of Appalachia. Located in western Kentucky the lyrics explain the situation with strip mining and the destruction of the natural beauty of the Green River in Muhlenberg County by the Peabody Coal Company.

Macon, Georgia (1931). The weary, haunting stare of a Depression era shopkeeper. DPI's homage to Dorothea Lange's Ditched,

LOCATION…LOCATION…LOCATION

Located within DPI’s Documentary collection is the Americana gallery on page one. This gallery contains two extensive Event collections which we want to bring to your attention. On page two in this gallery in the “1930s” event which includes many images taken during the Great Depression. There are 66 pages within this event providing hundreds of images. Likewise in this gallery located on page five is our “People” event. Here there are 99 pages displaying hundreds of images. Both events should provide numerous selections for your needs.

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Sleeping on the streets of Manhattan c.1931.

THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

You say that it could never happen again, scenes right out of the Great Depression. I say not only could it happen again under different circumstances, but there are already disturbing signs. For it is not only the 800,000 federal workers who are working without pay, but with every passing day there is going to be a ripple effect throughout the economy that is already underway. Breadlines have formed. The air traffic controllers have basically said that flying under these conditions is at your own risk. With every passing day of the shutdown more people will be affected than simply federal workers. Food stamp allocations for March will not be paid under existing conditions. At that point I would expect to see a hunger march in front of the White House. I do not think that the Administration has fully contemplated the wide-ranging effects of this self-inflicted government shutdown. Maybe the best people, these economists, were the wrong people to be hired or maybe they just don’t care?

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Homeless men gather around a fire to keep warm.  Date is approximate; true date unknown.

“…WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE; WITH CHARITY FOR ALL;…” — Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1865)

The quote, of course, is from Lincoln’s second inaugural address, and he was referring to the catastrophe of the Civil War and the need for reconciliation. We are using his words to introduce the theme of charities which are available to us in terms of making a donation. When I began to try and compile a list of those charities and organizations to which I have contributed I was stunned at the length of the list. As of this writing I am sure that the list is incomplete. Not only that but there are a number of worthy organizations to which I have not as yet contributed, but I hope to at a future date. My donations are small, but it is important to me to be part of the solution not simply a bystander. I sleep better at night this way.

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Walls Don't Work

WALLS DON’T WORK

Walls don’t work. You need to understand that construction of a wall in our current climate is only the first step. When the wall is breached and proved to be ineffective what is to follow? Guard towers with machine guns? Mine fields? A DMZ perhaps? Maybe a five mile wide buffer zone might work. These tactics have been tried before and do not work. The lead photo, “Walls Don’t Work“; China 1935 shows a debris field as Japanese forces breached the Great Wall.

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The Soup Kitchen

THE SOUP KITCHEN

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.

Actually the warden and guards at Thomaston State Prison in Maine (1940).

SHAWSHANK REDUX

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.