Ghosts of Tom Joad

Tomas Houtryve

 THE BITTER YEARS: EDWARD STEIGHEN AND THE FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION PHOTOGRAPHS

Edited by Francoise Poos D.A.P. $60

The Farm Security Administrationphotography project was one of the most unexpected and remarkable byproducts of RooseveltNew Deal. The idea: If the FSA could visually document how bad things were in rural America, the FDR administration could sway public opinion toward its programs, particularly federal aid to the rural poor. The result: one of the most memorable (and disturbing) troves of documentary photography in American history, featuring iconic images from giants such as Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein and Walker Evans. This new volume commemorates the 50th anniversary of an FSA photo exhibition curated by the legendary Edward Steichen for New York CityMuseum of Modern Art. These pictures make us see it, too, with imagery that celebrates the human spirit as it evokes hard times. In the exhibitionoriginal catalog, Steichen wrote, is good at this time to be reminded of those Years’and to bring them into the consciousness of a new generation which has problems of its own, but is largely unaware of the endurance and fortitude that made the Depression one of Americavictorious hours.”Fifty years later, those words are truer than ever.

BEHIND THE CURTAINS

By Tomas van Houtryve Editions Intervalles $65

Tomas Houtryve

Over seven years, VII photographer Tomas van Houtryve visited seven nations where Communism still maintains a hold, from newcomer Nepal —where the photographer covered the Maoist revolution and the rebels’ultimate win during the country2008 Assembly elections —to a final section on the behemoth that is China (aptly called Inc.”). Through imagery both bold and nuanced, van Houtryve delineates the daily lives of common folks, the anger of destructive mobs, the iconography of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and the oppressive might of totalitarian armies. His essays veer between harrowing first-person narrative and incisive political commentary, reminding us that many of the past centuryconflict zones —North Korea, Cuba,

Vietnam —are a long way from harmonious.

COLORS OF CONFINEMENT

In 1942, as part of President Rooseveltexecutive order in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attacks, auto mechanic Bill Manbo, an American of Japanese descent living in Hollywood, California, was rounded up with his wife and child and eventually taken to the Heart Mountain internment camp in Wyoming. For over three years, the photography hobbyist made the work that haunts this book. His images (the 35mm Kodachrome prints were supplied by Manboson for this project) are a study in cognitive dissonance: sunny, saturated

Tomas Houtryve

scenes of traditional Japanese life in what was, for all purposes, a prison. From parades to sporting events to dances, Manbodisplaced people maintain their rituals, their simple lifestyles, even their smiles on a backdrop of spartan barracks and cold winter climes that belie their suffering. The photographs retain their luster while shining a light on one of Americamost shameful missteps.

THE WHITE HOUSE

by Vicki Goldberg Little, Brown and Company $35

This wonderfully researched volume features an avalanche of rare historic photos, some of which have never been seen before. Author and renowned photo critic Vicki Goldberg draws on both official and informal images to trace the mighty mansionevolution from the time of John Adams to now. Candid moments range from after-dinner dances with movie stars to quiet exchanges between chief executives and their families.

A chapter on presidential pets breaks up the pomp. The text “house dispenses with political bias, instead recounting national history through an even-handed, personality-driven study of the White House and its occupants.

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