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Monday, 7 March 2011

Arthur Siegel: Better-Dressed Young Women, Detroit, 1941-1942


Girl putting on lipstick and another girl straightening seams on her stockings, Detroit, Michigan: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, Summer 1941|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=233191516

Girl straightening seams on her stocking and another girl combing her hair in mirror, Detroit, Michigan
: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, Summer 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Style of clothes worn by better-dressed office workers, presented by the Chrysler Girls' Club of the Chrysler Corporation at Saks Fifth Avenue store. Girl admiring a mink coat, Detroit, Michigan: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, Fall 1942|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=LOC%20photos%20%26%20prints&__utmv=-&__utmk=7804912

Negro girl putting up her hair, Detroit, Michigan: photo by Arthur S. Siegel, February 1942

Photos by Arthur S. Siegel from Office of War Information/Farm Security Administration Collection, Library of Congress


Anonymous said...

I would love to know the story behind the top two boudoir shots. Why was Siegel photographing these young women in their bedroom like this? I guess government used to do a lot more fun, aesthetic things than they do now. All of the women, including the "better dressed young women" in shot no. 3 and the young black teenage girl in shot no. 4, who is clearly (looking at the dresser and door) less well off than the others, look great and make me feel ashamed of my own usual attire. This morning I needed to leave the house early, dressed nicely for an appointment, and I was sincerely sorry my daughter couldn't have seen me looking "proper" for a change.

TC said...

He was "covering" the social set of the nouveau riche industrial classes of Detroit in its days of production glory.

The sardonic twist, the acid unstated commentary, the not quite flattering angle -- Siegel had a nuanced way of going against the grain of the assignment, while staying ostensibly within the bounds of the assignment.

Angelica was also quick to note that missing dresser drawer knob in the bottom shot.

No problems with the knobs in the shot at the top, though.

SarahA said...

You have a knack of finding the most interesting shots Thomas. The sort to make ones brain connect with ones feelings.
I am thinking and feeling too (at the same time)things have not really changed that much. Still, Women are taking four hours to get ready for a date!

*whispers* I speak from experience!

TC said...

What a pleasure to hear from you, SarahA!

Yes, the four hours... think how much time might have been saved in the Course of History had it not been for mirrors.