Photographing Farm Workers in California

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-06-01
  • Publisher: Stanford Univ Pr
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As exploited and colonized people, California farmworkers have attracted such massive, overwhelming photographic scrutiny that today their story cannot be told, studied, or understood without engaging the photographic dimension. Although the work of Dorothea Lange and other photographers from the 1930s often comes to mind, virtually every photographer of consequence at some time, for some reason, photographed in the fields of the Golden State. This includes such unlikely twentieth-century artists as fashion photographer Richard Avedon and commercial photographer Max Yavno, along with the nineteenth-century masters Carleton E. Watkins and Eadweard Muybridge. Their work, however, does not unfold along neat, predictable lines. While it has both obscured the place of field hands in modern agriculture and made a case against the farm labor system as an instrument of poverty and oppression, the best of these photographs goes far beyond advertising and expose, cutting through layers of ignorance and indifference and raising difficult moral questions that force us to reflect on the extent to which, as a society, we require the subservience of an entire class of people. This volume presents 282 of these important photographs.

Author Biography

Richard Steven Street is the Ansel Adams Fellow at the Center for Creative Photography.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xvii
From Sketch Artists to Lensmenp. 1
From Dry Plates to Halftonesp. 26
Postcards, Riots, Citrus, and Mexicansp. 52
Documentary Originsp. 78
Paul Taylor and Dorothea Langep. 102
Government Photographer, American Icon, and Blood on the Lettucep. 124
Facts Behind Fiction and Food for Victoryp. 148
The Decline and Fall of Documentary Photographyp. 172
Harvest of Shamep. 196
The Delano Grape Strike and Boycottp. 216
The Struggle to Organize Farmworkersp. 238
Violence, Art, and Justicep. 258
Funerals, Pesticides, and Undocumented Workersp. 282
Epiloguep. 300
Acknowledgmentsp. 321
Index of Photographersp. 327
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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