Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bound for Glory

The Depression...In Color, the Variable Focus entry for March 18, included links to black & white and color photos made by Farm Security Administration photographers, plus a link to a slideshow featuring some of the FSA color photographs from the book Bound for Glory. Having since had a chance to carefully page through a physical copy of the book, it's time not only to look back at that March 18 entry but also to praise the extraordinarily fine work that is Bound for Glory.

The book's subtitle is America in Color, 1939-43, and what color it is! Perhaps the combination of the earliest Kodachrome and some subsequent time-induced fading has produced a happy accident, but these are photographs with a special texture and a different kind of presence than contemporary photos possess. Paradoxically, it is as if current state-of-the-art color can exceed this work yet cannot match it.

Review the March 18 entry and its links, and, if at all possible, take a look at the book itself. In addition to the unique experience of rediscovering a time and place in history--and in photography--Bound for Glory also highlights the work of lesser-known FSA photographers. Their artistry is of the top rank. Tomorrow we will look more specifically at one of these artists, Marion Post Wolcott, the photographer who captured the 1940 image (below) of Louisiana boys fishing in a bayou.


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