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Copying Walker Evans: time marches on…

Posted by on March 25th, 2012 with 0 Comments

This weekend I’m finally getting around to doing a few things… like fixing the admin side of this site so I can post on it… and digging through old photos. It’s interesting and revealing sifting back through all that, but only to me.

Here’s something with a potentially wider appeal. In early Spring 2007, I was driving around rural PA for a reason I can’t remember. It was a tumultuous time, so I was probably just driving aimlessly.

Whatever the reason, I found myself in Bethlehem PA. I know Bethlehem for 2 things… the steel mill and Walker Evan’s depression era photos. In 2007 the mill was closed and Evans long dead, but I was still looking for some kind of echo of this iconic image from 1935:

If you’re having trouble reading it, it’s a portrait of American life. In view you’ve got the place you live, the place you work, the place you die and the God you worship. Notably absent is any living person to tie it all to. Make of it what you will.

I was driving through Bethlehem, when I saw this:

My image isn’t as good and isn’t much of anything without the first one, but in context, I like it. I like it even more now that 5 years have passed and we know that the mountains that take the place of the mill are packed full of shale gas. Those black vs white kids are 5 years older. I wonder where they work? You probably can’t make it out, but if you look close, the basketball is in the air, arcing toward the basket.

Also, I think the steel mill is a casino now.

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