Indepth Arts News: |
"FSA: The Bitter Years of the American Depression"
2002-12-06 until 2003-02-05
Gallery of Photography
The Farm Security Administration (F.S.A.) produced some of the most
memorable and iconic images of the 20th century. Between 1935 and
1942, the F.S.A., headed by Roy E. Stryker, employed an exceptional
team of photographers including Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell
Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Jack Delano, Marion Post Wolcott,
Gordon Parks, John Vachon and Carl Mydans.
In 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Resettlement
Administration (R.A.) as part of his
'New Deal' strategy to cope with the Great Depression. The R.A.
project was set up to bring financial aid to thousands of rural
communities affected by the 'Dust Bowl' and competition from
mechanical agricultural practices. In 1937 the R.A. was incorporated
into the Department of Agriculture and became the Farm Security
Over a period of 7 years, thousands of images were taken by this
remarkable team of photographers, chosen by Stryker for their
humanist concerns. These photographers, being at the same time
journalists, social commentators and artists, worked with a clear
political and social purpose. The methods they employed: the careful
arrangement of subject matter; the portrayal of sitters as 'victims';
and the adherence to predetermined points of view, were intended to
marshal public sympathy. They deliberately utilised the persuasive
power of photography to shape public opinion and affect social
change. This calculated approach to image making raised important
questions about the relationship between 'truth' and photography.
Ultimately, this enduring pictorial record reflects the hardship and
heroism of the Great Depression, and the lives and beliefs of the
image makers, their subjects and their audience. This remarkable
photographic project, which includes some of the best known
photographic images: Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother; Walker Evans'
portraits of the Burroughs family and Arthur Rothstein's Fleeing a Dust Storm,
is a landmark in the history of documentary photographic practice.
This exhibition is brought to Ireland with the kind collaboration of the
Collection: Château d'Eau - Toulouse, France.
Supported in Ireland by Ambassade de France en Irlande