Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More fakery

In the NYTimes: The Case of the Inappropriate Alarm Clock.

James Curtis, a professor emeritus at the University of Delaware, in 1991 published a revisionist history of FSA photography, “Mind’s Eye, Mind’s Truth: FSA Photography Reconsidered.” Curtis’s thesis was simple. “The bitter reality” of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographs was not the result of clinical, photographic field work: “The realism was deliberate, calculated, and highly stylized.” According to Curtis, many of the most famous of the FSA photographs — Walker Evans’ interior of the Gudger home in Hale County, Ala. (which appeared in Evans’s collaboration with James Agee, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”), Arthur Rothstein’s “Fleeing a dust storm” and the most famous photograph of all, Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” — were all arranged, staged and manipulated.