21 February 2010

Evans & Lange & Rothstein & Shahn, Oh My!

Ironically, today I was searching online for an image by Dorothea Lange - "Strike Meeting, Yuba County, California, 1938." Searching unsuccessfully, I'll add. However, I did come across this product - "The FSA-American Apparel Tee Shirt" - at Zazzle. This is ironic because the FSA generally and its individual photographers in particular surely would find the vigorously anti-union American Apparel pretty despicable. (Just to be clear, this is not an American Apparel product. It is some guy printing on an AA tee shirt. His other work glorifies the Fords - you know, Henry and his offspring.) It is ironic too because the FSA had a policy of not allowing individual photographers to claim individual credit for their work. That smacked of photography as an art form rather than as documentation. This was an interesting counter movement to the efforts of, say, Stieglitz and Evans, to insure that they and their favorites were treated as artists. They needed - and so helped define - the merely documentary as a category against whom they could contrast themselves.

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