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Home Laundry: 1941

Home Laundry: 1941

March 1941. "Daughters of defense worker. Negro slum district. Norfolk, Virginia." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Can we hurry up please?

By the looks of the little girl’s legs and white socks, I’d say she was outside having a good time playing before being called in to be a part of the picture. Whenever I see kids in these pictures, I think they can’t wait to break free and get back to whatever game they were playing before they were interrupted.


Judging by the smudges on the little girl, and the wash basin, and the cloth in the hands of the big girl, I’d say someone is about to get a bit of a wipe-clean. Which makes me think this photo is of a scene preparatory to the serious picture-taking, but somehow, in terms of quality and the moment captured, this is the photo that stuck. (Then I noticed the bunched-up garments on the spindles of the broken chair. Then I read the title again.)

Lots going on

It's great that something seems to be going on; we can use our imagination. Because her big sister is looking at her instead of the camera, little sister, incredibly cute, is the center of attention, and she is thinking big thoughts. I hope she's not in bad trouble. Of course good trouble would be ok.

It was a hard life

but she looks like a sweet and a good lady, with a precious little daughter. And not for nothing but I love the way Mom put her own outfit together. Very cool, right down to her socks and shoes. What she lacked in advantages she made up for in style savvy. As my own late mother would have said, that's no small thing.

[According to the caption, these ladies (the older last seen here) are sisters. - Dave]

So it does. Apologies for overlooking that.

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