Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Second Great Depression

The Second Great Depression - equally unthinkable as another World War after the War to End All Wars.

Economic collapse: coming soon to a town near you. I lived in a dying steel town in the 70s and well remember stories of the 30s from my ancestors. Father's family lost their house when the government reneged on veterans disability benefits. Mother's family fed homeless people by being ready with a plate of food when they came to the door. Dear God what have we allowed to happen to our country.

"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it."

Photographer Dorothea Lange. I imagine the next generation of depression photographers will find plenty of opportunity.


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