Archive for March 10th, 2010


Ben Shahn Photography (old grit in the eyes)

Nancy Muncy (Nancy Lester) Pipe In Hand

Several years ago, I completed an extensive genealogy study of my family. I studied far and wide and took several branches of the family back into the 1500’s and France, Hungary, Germany, Ireland and England. One of the more interesting sides of the family moved into the hills of West Virginia and true to typical depictions truly were from the hollows of Panther, West Virginia. Note my gggrandmother sitting there with a bowl full.

I have always found rural folks intriguing because they are my roots. They were farmers, poor, tough and survivors. My dad came home as a young man one day to find his older brother had shot my dad’s dog dead. Matter a factly my dad grabbed an axe and proceeded to set out to kill his brother. After a considerable effort, my dad was overpowered and tied down for a day until his brother could leave the area to safety. Soon, my dad left into the military at 18y/o and into WWII (Aleutians, Yukon, Al-Can Hiway). That was an aside story of no great import except to me. Except he was rural, tough and honorable.

What I wanted to really do is highlight the photo work of Ben Shahn. He captured the lean faces of rural folks during the hard times. Many of us have a rural, farming heritage that will soon be forgotten. Is that why so many of us obsessively leave the urban shit storm to seek solitude out there?

Ben Shahn at Zinc, Arkansas, 1935

Below @ “The Past” you can search back to 2008 month by month

March 2010

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