One of the biggest influences on my photography (and perhaps my reason for pursuing this field) was my introduction to the work of Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Russell Lee, who worked for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression. For anyone studying the history of photography, this was a period of extreme importance.
The FSA was a New Deal agency designed to combat rural poverty during a time when the national economy was causing great dislocations in rural life.
Under director Roy Stryker, photographers were hired to provide visual evidence that there WAS need and that the FSA was fulfilling that need. The FSA made efforts to improve the lifestyles of sharecroppers and tenants, and sent well established photographers and writers across the country to document their plight.
Some of those famous images, such as Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” and Walker Evan’s book, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” became an American classic.
And so it was, that during a recent visit to wine country in South Africa, while strolling through the affluent and picturesque town of Franschhoek, that I came upon some modern-day migrant workers.
I first met a young girl, barefoot in the street, who asked to be photographed.. She was so engaging, I took her up on her offer and then asked her where she lived, and if I could follow her home and meet her family.
She ran ahead with her friend (pictured) and it was there that I found these proud and humble subjects, more than willing to pose for my lens.