Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

John Vachon: Washington Is Burning


.

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Spectator at fire, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, December 1937

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Children's drawings on wall, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937

Image, Source: digital file from original neg.
 
Street scene, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, November 193
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Movie theatre, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Movie poster, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Putting up movie posters at night, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, June 1938

Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Magazine advertisements, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1938
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Girl on lobster, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1938
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Negro cafe, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, July-November 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from original neg.
 
Advertisement for bread, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from original neg.
 
Advertisement for coffee, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, December 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Signs, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Shop window, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1938
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Drugstore, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, September 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Fruit stand, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1938
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Tire shop, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, September 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Secondhand furniture block, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, August 1938
 
Image, Source: digital file from original neg.
 
Children playing, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from original neg.
 
House in slum district, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Brick house in Northeast Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, September 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Children living on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, September 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
House on Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, December 1939

Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Parking lot, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1938
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
In front of the public library, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, June 1939
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Unemployed youth, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, August 1938
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Unemployed youth, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, August 1938
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Man reading in restaurant, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, November 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Woman knitting, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, 1941
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Painters, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, September 1941
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Slum area, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, November 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Girl in Washington, D.C. slum area: photo by John Vachon, December 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from original neg.
 
Junkyard, Washington, D.C. photo by John Vachon, August 1938
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Southwest Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, May 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Slums behind Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Negro church, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, May 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Spectator at fire, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, December 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Spectators at fire, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, November 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Spectators at fire, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, November 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Spectators at fire, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, November 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from original neg.
 
Street scene, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, December 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from original neg.
 
Man on the street, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, December 1937
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Man with homemade pipe, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1937
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Parking lot for government employees, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, July 1939
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Parking lot for government employees, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, July 1939
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Washington, D.C. Greyhound bus terminal on the day before Christmas. Waiting room: photo by John Vachon, 24 December 1941
 
Image, Source: intermediary roll film
 
Washington, D.C. Greyhound bus terminal on the day before Christmas. Waiting room: photo by John Vachon, 24 December 1941
 
Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film
 
Airport, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, April 1940
 
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8b29000/8b29400/8b29417v.jpg

Gas station, Washington, D.C.: photo by John Vachon, July 1937
Photos by John Vachon from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress

4 comments:

tpw said...

Dear T: These are evocative images indeed. Even though there is now a Starbux on every block in DC, many echoes of these earlier times remain in evidence.

Wooden Boy said...

Two cartoon smiles for an opener: the spectator and the chalk scrawl. Funny and highly disturbing.

This is a great series of images, each one perfectly placed.

Marcia said...

Wonderful photos, capturing a difficult time. They make me think of an elderly man I met this morning at the grocery store. Patrons were getting antsy because only two lines were open. Shaking his head, he told me, “ I can only laugh. In my ninety years, I’ve seen such a loss of humanity. I grew up poor and never realized it. Now people worry more about affairs than murder. I saw banks fold, and 1935, well….” There he faded off to unload his items onto the belt. I wanted to hear more….He looked much like the old gentleman in the first photo you posted. I loved his leaping conversation, covering a whole realm of those terrible times and today’s insanity: the way our elders stood up and continued on then – the way today’s life seems to spiral out of control.

TC said...

Many thanks Terry, WB, Marcia.

For a brief account of how John Vachon went on from lowly government clerical work to become among the greatest of American photojournalists -- after the War he created the photographic "look" of the new Look magazine (see sixth photo from top, for a newstand shot of the old version) -- see John Vachon: Scale.

The common peculiar slant angle of view, the ironic distancing with the affection concurrent and yet not contradictory (hard eye, gentle wit, dicriminating expression) -- not to mention of course the location -- seemed close enough to justify following Terence Winch with John Vachon.