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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Walker Evans: Xenophobia


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Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Main street, Morgantown, West Virginia: photo by Walker Evans, March 1936 





Learning to distrust
what's coming
your way
if it's not from around here
incurious
in the event
of questions uninvited
and uneasy 
in any case




Image, Source: digital file from original neg.

Legionnaire, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: photo by Walker Evans, November 1935
Photos from Farm Security Administration Collection, Library of Congress

9 comments:

Sandra said...

the roots of distrust are obviously learnt...

Wooden Boy said...

"Questions uninvited" are the only one that matter, leaving our selves in question, the place of true beginnings, of displacement.

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Home is
on the road
going somewhere
nowhere special
but that plan

Unasked, unanswered
ear a question mark
earring dangling

Some people can point
to a spring or mountain
tree and say
that's where they began

or look through
dense overstory
up the Umpqua
ask about the bright spot
Dad thinking it hilarious
even now

the sun
feeling dumb
not to have known this
Oregon age two
after Tina was born
in Roseburg

never settled down to
or found where it was
just left

The Sandwich Isles
once had strict rules
kapu is still felt
a tangible residue
feel it waiting
to kill if totally ignored
protocol
a beautiful sounding word
like kapu
taboo
almost a tattoo
of a deer
a caribou

also terrible
when misspelled
a mistake
for life

Susan Kay Anderson said...

The Crooked Bank

leans
a plank
an inclined plane
where the pirate king
sentences you
to walk and eventually jump
into something that looks
familiar but is not
into a place
with a beautiful name
that begins with an X
but is not solved
by finding it
this was
not supposed to be
a math poem
but numbers to
figure against

Susan Kay Anderson said...

Hello Goodbye Dada


Hello funny hat. Flying mustache.
The serious aside. It is beside
itself. The only dance I knew
was sort of a twist. Then,
my half clown hat, dirty snow,
merriment or half of merriment.
Nonsense. Speaking as such. It
captured me and held me
there, still haunted, believing.
Almost basking. Not quite there.
Somewhat scornful of the table,
the waterfall fork, the spoo.

TC said...

The place of displacement, the place one can't go back to.

a question mark
earring dangling

Evans did little to reduce the distance of formality between himself and his subjects. He always remains very much the outsider -- East Coast liberal, schooled at Phillips/Williams, of the intellectual classes, an enigmatic man, with a cold eye.

The suspicion with which he is viewed by these "subjects" appears real.

Evans has become notorious for his entry into the photographic situation, his set-ups and set-designs.

The bank, and the straw hat business types, behind the Morgantown subjects -- accidental?

And the downward angle of the heads, so that the narrowed distrustful eyes come up toward the camera...

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

It's the "learning" that counts (no child left behind) in "Learning to distrust /what's coming your way /
if it's not from around here. . ."

8.11

grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, song sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

i.e., thing “typed” in time
of “hand” in “action”

as different, what it would
be, form of “present”

grey white fog against invisible ridge,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

Elmo St. Rose said...

"I can show you fear in a handfull
of dust" TS Elliot

The components of fear are ever
present.

I wonder what TS Elliot would have
thought of John Lennon

"Imagine all the people.....

Susan Kay Anderson said...

I can't leave no Dagger behind.
There is the home of Cougars
also just down the road.