Between World Wars


Assignment 2 now due on Blackboard!
When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” - Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams, Clearing Winter Storm, February 23, 1935.











Hans Bellmer, La Poupee, c. 1934. Gelatin silver print.











Hannah Höch, Puppen, 1919.











Hans Bellmer, La Poupee, 1935 - 1937.

"Pure Arayan Family" Neues Volk Cover, 1938.











Hans Bellmer, Cepholopde, 1939.

Hans Bellmer, Woman Bound, 1958.











Hans Bellmer, La Poupee (The Doll), c. 1934. Gelatin silver print.












The Great Depression
1929 - 1941
Global economic crisis
  • Numerous bank failures and factory closures sparked by the 1929 NY Stock Market crash
  • 1 out of 4 workers unemployed at a time when most families survived on one income
  • Dramatic drop in industrial production
1931 drought, wind storms and over farming turned the Great Plains into the Dust Bowl
Dorothea Lange, Tractored Out, Childress County, Texas, 1939.











The New Deal
1933 - 1937

Direct relief, economic recovery and financial reform
New Deal programs oversaw loans, flood control, migrant camps, agricultural education, work relief and the creation of the social security system
Dorothea Lange,  Men Walking Towards
Los Angeles
, c. 1935.










Resettlement Administration (later known as the Farm Security Administration) intended to move distressed farmers into more economically viable service and industrial jobs
  • Roy E. Stryker appointed chief of the historical section
  • Historical section's aim was to gather visual evidence in support of the RA's good works and to distribute these images, free of charge, to the nation's news agencies











"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." - Dorothea Lange










Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936.











Midweed Pictorial spread using Migrant Mother image. October 17, 1936.










Bill Ganzel, Florence Owens Thompson and her daughters Norma, Katherine and Ruby, 1979.











Walker Evans, Car Parts, c. 1930.











Walker Evans, Shoeshine Stand, 1936.











Allie Mae Burroughs

Walker Evans, Floyd Burroughs, 1936.
Walker Evans, Allie Mae Burroughs, 1936.











Burrough's Kitchen

Walker Evans, Kitchen in Floyd Burroughs' Home, 1936.
Walker Evans, Kitchen Corner in Floyd Burroughs' Home, 1936.












1938 Walker Evans's work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art's
first show devoted to a photographer