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03 April 2010

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Hi John, thanks for this post. I do point out in the Lens blog and in my story about white poverty that “It’s not a new phenomenon, but the numbers seem to be more apparent than they were in the past.”
Your historical context is great to have as I could not fit it all into my stories, but I'm aware of the long history behind this subject. I also recommend Constance Stuart Larrabee's White Social Welfare series from late 1930s to early 1940s. Hard to find, but here is info about this remarkable woman: http://www.nmafa.si.edu/exhibits/larrabee/larrabee.htm
Regards, -Finbarr

Hello, Finbarr.

Thanks very much for the comments. You're right, certainly did mention that poor whites are nothing new.

You photos are certainly getting around, which is a good thing. Re-reading this entry, I'm embarrassed to see that I never got around to saying that it's a superb photo essay.

There are many more "poor whites" in the world's richest nation, and there's no excuse for that.
At least in South Africa, both black and white have the grace to be grateful for their beautiful environment even if their government does not have the means to provide for all.

Hello John,

thank you for those interesting posts on 'Poor Whites and photography'. Especially on the photographs by Larrabee, a photographer I hadn't heard of before.
I've finished a thesis on this topic last year in a Master of Photographic Studies.
Last winter I visited South Africa and photographed some impoverished whites in the Western part of Pretoria. I also did reseach on the original photoalbums made by E.G. Malherbe.
In my thesis I wrote on the photographs of the Carnegie Commission as well as on David Goldblatt and the controversial photographs by Roger Ballen in his publications Dorps and Platteland.
Malherbe was not the first one who photographed the Poor White Community. Marijke du Toit wrote an interesting article ('Blank Verbeeld' published in Hayes (P.) & Bank (A.) eds. KRONOS, journal of Cape history, no.27, November 2001, special issue: visual history) on the way the Poor Whites had been represented in an Afrikaner nationalistic magazine called Die Huisgenoot. You might be interested in this article. I'm planning to write an article on this topic and also on the photographs made by E.G. Malherbe. I'm also producing an article on Some Afrikaners Photographed since this year there is an exhibition planned on this work in Huis Marseile, a photomuseum in Amsterdam.

I genuinely hoped after Mandela was put in power all racism in South Africa would end. The more I read about what is happening to 'poor whites' the more alarmed I feel. I understand that 'affirmative action' has a role to play however it appears the baby has been thrown out with the bath water. Any discrimination is wrong. The world should not comfortably sit by and do nothing. Raise awareness please and lets lobby the South African government to address poverty among all its people.

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