These are portraits of the tragic Empress of Mexico, Carlotta (or Charlotte of Belgium), married to Maximillian. The first is in 1857, prior to her marriage to Max. The second, in the 1860s as Empress. Third, in a photograph in full crinoline.
Her life was to be a fairy tale, but ended with sixty years confined in a mental hospital after her beloved husband was abandoned by his peers and executed by the Mexican revolutionaries.
The top photo is a 32 year-old mother with seven children (two seen here) in a tent camp in California. An “Okie” as the Californians called them, nastily. Lange took photos in the Dust Bowl of the Midwest as well as throughout the tent camps, food lines and migrant camps of California. Compelling, moving, terrifically sad photos of people without hope of any kind.
The bottom family is a Japanese-American family packed and tagged for an internment camp during WWII. US authorities rounded up and imprisoned Japanese-heritage citizens to “protect” America. Not our finest hour.
Lange was a photographer with more than a camera and an eye: she had a heart, a conscience and a passion for showing the truth.
Photographer. An eye into the early 20th century. Fashion, personalities, architecture, urban living, bodies, light, shadows.
This is an absolutely phenomenal portrait of Gloria Swanson in 1924. In 1924, Swanson was one of the highest paid, popular silent stars. She had gone from being barely a girl without experience to the queen of the studios. She is absolutely brilliant in Sunset Boulevard.
This is a very young Gary Cooper–1930. This is the year he made The Virginian, The Spoilers, and Morocco… if he wasn’t a star before these three films, he certainly was after they came out. And he was one sexy actor.
This I’ve never seen before, but it is a perfectly portrait of Lillian Gish in 1934, years after her silent stardom had waned. Gish is a hero of mine. The eyes, the mouth, the hands–this is a woman without vanity and one ton of character. Damn, she’s beautiful.
May 1939, French Vogue.
This iconic fashion shot captures a joie de vivre that Paris in 1939 might not have truly felt. Or Blumenfeld, either, given that he was a German Jew who had left Germany in 1936 to come to Paris, away from Hitler’s growing persecution of the Jews. Unfortunately, in 1940 he was interned in a concentration camp; in 1941 he was allowed to leave, and he came at that time to America, where he lived for the rest of his life.
He was a pioneer in fashion photography. The website from a recent exhibition gives more information.
It seems very fresh and modern, even after 81 years… wow, can it be that long since 1930? Apparently so. And I am always curious about the couple: who they are, what their relationship is, what just happened, and what will happen.
I suppose that is the sign of a great piece of art: to make us want more.