DATE: 8/16/2012 | BY CORY REYNOLDS
Jack Crager reviews The Bitter Years: Edward Steichen and the Farm Security Administration Photos, published by D.A.P., in the September/October issue of American Photo magazine, calling it "one of the most memorable (and disturbing) troves of documentary photography in American history." Scroll down for the full review.
"BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THE GOVERNMENT MADE REALLY GOOD ART."
"The Farm Security Administration's photography project was one of the most unexpected and remarkable byproducts of Roosevelt's New Deal. The idea: If the FSA could visually document how bad things were in rural America, the FDR administration could sway public opinion toward its programs, particularly federal aid to the rural poor. The result: one of the most memorable (and disturbing) troves of documentary photography in American history, featuring iconic images from giants such as Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein and Walker Evans. This new volume commemorates the 50th anniversary of an FSA photo exhibition curated by the legendary Edward Steichen for New York City's Museum of Modern Art. 'I see one third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nbourished,' exhorted FDR in his second inaugural address in 1937. These pictures make us see it, too, with imagery that celebrates the human spirit as it evokes hard times. In the exhibition's original catalog, Steichen wrote, 'It is good at this time to be reminded of those Bitter Years and to bring them into the consciousness of a new generation which has problems of its own, but is largely unaware of the endurance and fortitude that made the Depression one of America's victorious hours.' Fifty years later, those words are truer than ever."
- Jack Crager, American Photo, September/October, 2012
The Bitter Years: Edward Steichen and the Farm Security Administration Photographs
D.A.P./DISTRIBUTED ART PUBLISHERSClth, 9.5 x 12 in. / 288 pgs / 229 duotone.$60.00 free shipping