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Resting Bro Face: 1938

Resting Bro Face: 1938

May 1938. "Farm boy in the cooperative store at Irwinville Farms, Georgia." 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Transcending time

Ms. Pennifer has it right. Vachon is pretty good at seemingly spanning time in this photo. To me, those bolts of cloth appear to be wrapped in plastic -- a thing that didn't happen until some time past 1938.

In the early 1960s I worked after school at a variety store that sold dry goods and most of the bolts of cloth were wrapped in brown paper of left fully uncovered. Watch the straight pins when unpacking!

[The photo, along with hundreds of others taken by John Vachon and his fellow FSA photographers at Irwinville Farms, is from the 1930s. Cellophane was invented over a hundred years ago. Below, a 1936 ad for "Cellophane transparent wrapping." - Dave]

Ennui are he

When his subjects were human, John Vachon somehow knew how to probe their psyches with his lens and reveal things that mere body language does not. It's the totality of the photo: the boring, inanimate dry goods as a backdrop for bored youth is as eloquent as it is ordinary, and transcends time.

The boredom of waiting

To me he looks like a teenage guy waiting for his mother and sister to FINALLY make up their minds.

The thumb, ring finger, and pinky on his left hand look like they've been mangled.

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