Drawing from the vast photographic archive of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), held by the Library of Congress, the artist Joel Daniel Phillips and the writer Quraysh Ali Lansana bring forward images, such as this, that were never meant to be seen. Roy Stryker, director of the FSA’s Historical Section in the 1930s, sent photographers across the country to document the Great Depression’s hardships. He also determined which images could and could not circulate, preventing many from appearing in print by hole-punching (what the FSA termed, “killing”) their negatives. With tight control, Stryker crafted the period’s visual legacy and its history.
In response to Arthur Rothstein’s “killed” negative, Phillips and Lansana have rendered an anonymous resident of Eighty Acres in Glassboro, New Jersey, larger than life while expanding our understanding of life during the Great Depression.
Quraysh Ali Lansana
Poem (in response to Killed Negative #13 / After Arthur Rothstein)