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22 September 2010

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Thanks for posting these, and for your appreciation of the images. However, I must respectfully disagree with your assertion that color was incidental to Delano's vision and that his Kodachromes could be hand-tinted version of his b&w photos.

Delano was very aware of color relationships. He was especially interested in the way the film rendered scenes with subtle color relationships and low saturation. Kodachrome was expensive and had to be used sparingly. For the most part, he used it when something about the color of a scene particularly interested him.

I believe this is evident to some extent in the USVI photos, but more so in the Kodachromes from Puerto Rico, Greene County, GA and the country fair images taken in Rutland, VT. Please see:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/trialsanderrors/4183923733/

It is true that some of the FSA images, including some by Delano, have a hand-colored look. But I believe this is due largely to the inconsistency in the way the Kodachromes were processed or stored, maybe even inconsistencies in the film manufacturing. Irrespective of photographer, some images are far more faded than others. But even with Delano's faded images, I believe there was a conscious awareness of the use of color for it's own sake.

Finally, I must contest your statement that he remained in the black and white world in which he came of age. There is a large body of color photography from later in his life. While I know you were referring to photography, he also produced hundreds of color illustrations, paintings, posters, graphics, that relied on stunning, vibrant color.

"In early December 1941, Jack Delano, sitting in the back seat of a "single-engine, cloth-covered biplane," landed at San Juan airport, in the United States Virgin Islands, ready to begin an assignment for the federal government's Farm Security Administration [FSA].

Just a comment on the description given of Mr. Delano landing at the San Juan Airport in US Virgin Islands. There are two airports in USVI - on the island of St. there is the Cyril E. King Airport and on the island of St. Croix once known as the Alexander Hamilton Airport now known as Henry E. Rohlsen Airport. San Juan Airport now the Munoz Marin Airport is in the common wealth of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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