Photo Essays, Spot News and Stock Photography

Posts by Mike Lander

California, August 1932


Today there is great concern among some of us about the deluge of undocumented immigrants at our southern border and the resettlement of these migrants throughout the land. This is nativist thinking in my opinion. These immigrants are refugees just as many of the “natives” ancestors were a long time ago. If you believe in nothing more than a market economy, forgetting all moral issues for a moment, these newcomers will be fueling our economy with the purchases they make in the future with everything from toothpaste to automobiles. All they need is a temporary helping hand. Remember that during the Great Depression many native born people were refugees in our own land. “The Migrant Camp“; California (August 1932).

Babylon Garage Sale


As the season continues this Babylon sale in 2022 I call the Mother of all Garage Sales. The photo shows just about 25% of the items for sale as the collection continued in the rear yard of the house, the other side and the front lawn. Oodles of junk for the most part. What I would have considered buying was too high priced. You can’t win ’em all.

Babylon Garage Sale“; August 27, 2022. Photo by Mike Lander/DPI

U. S. February 11, 1938


To be honest when we first saw this image we liked the composition but had a difficult time in defining the story. What was this photo trying to say? The collapsed buildings could have been caused by a natural disaster. Why then would the fence posts still be standing untouched? Were to buildings demolished by design to make room for improved structures? A nice, rural photo with an interesting composition but what else? Does not look particularly like a farm. And then we realized that the story here is about the utility poles bringing electrification to rural America. Probably a WPA project as the timeline is correct. “Electrification“; U. S. (February 11, 1938). It was after seeing a photo and reading a report in Newsday (3/33/23) that convinced us of the story. See: “PSEG to take 5 ‘monster’ poles down”.

Lactaid: Fat Free


Maybe gone but not forgotten. First it’s baby formula and now this. Good luck trying to find some Lactaid: fat free milk. I called Lactaid several weeks ago and they told me that it was a nationwide problem. 1% and 2% is available but not fat free for those of us who depend on it. Even other lactose and fat free brands are nearly impossible to find. What’s going on here? Can’t be for a lack of demand. Supply chain problems? Maybe the cows are on strike. If so, they must be French cows. The French are always going on strike over one thing or another. Toujours les français!

U. S. c.1940


I used to think that a photo silhouette was some photographer’s mistake. An underexposed photograph. A good scene ruined.  How wrong I was. I find a photo silhouette to be more attractive than a non-silhouette in many cases. The silhouette is dramatic. It is mysterious. It is sterile because in the case of the photos in this blog, “Oil Refinery” (U.S. c.1940) the photos can be used to symbolize any and all refineries. The lesson here is not to dismiss a silhouette out of hand as it may prove to be a truly fine, artistic photograph containing subtle meanings never intended.

U. S. c.1940

U. S. c.1940

Kansas (1933)


Just another farm photo you say? I could not disagree more. Fred and Thelma cannot bear to watch as a piece of their farm equipment is hauled away on a flatbed truck. Look to the left of the car. This is Kansas during the Dust Bowl. The farm equipment appears to be a horse drawn plow or hay rake. I would argue that they are selling off pieces of their farm in order to pay for the necessities of life. Farms became unproductive and many farms were eventually abandoned as their owners moved to California and elsewhere. Normally I would object to the photographer’s shadow in this photo, but the significance of the photo outweighs any technical defects in my opinion. A very sad day indeed as we can see by the expressions on their faces.


And So It Came To Pass“; Kansas (1933)

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