Thursday, August 27, 2009
On Earth's Furrowed Brow
"Bertha Marler shelling beans, 1983, Marshall, Madison County, NC" is part of North Carolina Museum of History's The Appalachian Farm in Photographs. The exhibit features work by photographer Tim Barnwell, who grew up among the rural farm families of Western North Carolina where "church dinners-on-the grounds, country stores and mule-drawn plows were still part of daily life in the 1950s and 1960s."
I hope to make it to NCMH before the exhibit moves elsewhere in October. Because of my maternal family's history of dirt-farming and migrant labor, I've long been drawn to images of fieldwork, especially those captured prior to the introduction of high-tech industries. In places and faces documented by Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans, I look for shadow figures of my grandparents as they struggled to survive the Great Depression. Such images are as close as I can get to that era. Looking forward to seeing how Barnwell's images measure against his predecessors, as well as the controversial Mr. Shelby Lee Adams.
The most striking account of grief I've ever read (and just a damn well-written essay): Cheryl Strayed's "The Love of My Life." No coincidence that it's reprinted as part of The Best American series! Read it and weep!
Picked up at the local library sale:
1. St. Augustine's Confessions (25 cents)
2. Doctorow's Ragtime (25 cents)
3. Austen's Sense and Sensibility (50 cents)
4. McEwan's Atonement ($3)