Tag: Great Depression

End of Tractor Week

Kansas Tractor #2
Kansas Tractor #2

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Today’s post is the last one I want to share from my Kansas tractor series. Sometimes a detail is all that is needed to tell a story; I think that is the case with this image of an Allis-Chalmers grill shell and Allis-Chalmers emblem. The patina, the complex curves of the metal and the Allis-Chalmers emblem speak to an era long ago when industrial design was also concerned with aesthetics. The farm trucks in the background exist as metaphors for a time when America was struggling to survive the Great Depression and tractors such as this Allis-Chalmers were working to feed the world.

Because I was working with a single frame I used a preset in Topaz Adjust that I built especially for these images. I started with the Spicify preset that I dialed down to a level that emphasized texture and color; I then added a vignette and a border to the image as my finishing touches.

Walker Evans


I decided that due to my procrastination on the new hard drive, (due here at my door tomorrow, Yay!), I would use this time to look into the work of one of my favorite photographers Walker Evans. I went to the library yesterday and picked up ten books of his work to read and absorb.

I’m trying to channel something my photography professor had us do when I first stated formally studying photography. One of his first lectures to us was about going to the Louisville School of Art’s library and looking at the vast catalog of famous photographers to find out whose work resonated with us. This exercise opened my eyes to the work of the Farm Security Administration photographers who worked for the US government during the Great Depression. I discovered Walker Evans while researching these women and men and instantly found his work to be so rich in metaphor and social commentary while at the same time being so well composed and well done technically.

I have already finished reading one of the books and realize that I have been following  in Walker Evans’ tracks for much of my photographic journey. I love the way he gave dignity to his subjects and celebrated the working women and men of his day; it is something I have tried to do with my art for many years as well.

My current project on the Big Four Bridge here in Louisville has another component beyond documenting the progress of the work on the bridge. I am also compiling a record of the men who are doing the physical work on the job. I have already amassed a huge collection of images about them that I will edit over the next year to produce a book to be shared with these men and the Waterfront Development Corporation for their archives. My hope is that these men will be forever linked and identified for their contribution to the city of Louisville and the success of Waterfront Park and that their descendants will be able to come to the archive and find out about them and see them as I saw them while they worked.