Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jimmy Curtis and the Case of the Traveling Skull

I was intrigued by this story on the New York Times about a photographer for the Farm Security Administration, Arthur Rothstein, who in 1936 traveled through South Dakota documenting the drought years. He was apparently fond of the skull, hauling it around and taking pictures of it willy-nilly to document how damned dry it was here then, cows dying everywhere. His photos are in the Library of Congress, still with misleading information about them, at least according to James Curtis, who published a book on the subject in 1991: Mind’s Eye, Mind’s Truth: F.S.A. Photography Reconsidered.

Check out the story; it's got the infamous photos, scans of newspaper articles, and maps of Rothstien's travels, along with commentary on Dorothea Lange and other photographers of the era.

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