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'You Can't Photograph a Collateralized Debt Obligation'

The most iconic images of the Great Depression passed through Dorothea Lange's camera. These days you can't help but see the ghosts of Lange's portraits in photos and video footage from the darkest corners of the current economic crisis. Clinical Psychologist and blogger Michael Shaw makes a dreadfully direct link, blogging at the always compelling BAGnewsNotes about a series of tent city photos taken in Sacramento, California, the same city where Lange took photos like these:

Tent City in Sacramento by Dorothea Lange

Sacramento Tent City by Dorothea Lange

Compare those shots to this photograph of Karen Hersh, an out of work truck driver, cleaning her Sacramento tent city home several decades later.

The online magazine Slate has invited readers to submit photographs from the economic crisis to its Flickr page, and Lange is there too. A standout of the submissions so far is this photograph of a tent pitched on a blighted corner of Portland, Oregon.

In Slate's call for photographs, they lay out the challenge of photographing this new depression: "You can't take a photograph of a collateralized debt obligation."

Sources: BAGnewsNotesSlateLibrary of Congress 

Images by Dorothea Lange

sam howe_1
4/11/2009 7:21:59 PM

Michael Shaw's blog has really captured "today's poverty" making the connection you mentioned. Dorothea Lange's pictures are very haunting, but then any image of despair upon the face of a person has a haunting effect. I love the fact that this photography is getting around today, as in the past we are ravaged by an economic war which has made many poverty stricken, these photos and bloggers like Shaw bring it to the attention of the public and as the saying goes a picture speaks a thousand words. Regards Sam, http://www.4amphotography.com