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Posts Tagged ‘russell lee’

BLUEBERRY SAUCE

This blueberry sauce is fantastic on ice cream or pancakes, or whatever you might want to pour it over.

Tent of Indian blueberry picker. Littlefork, Minnesota Russell Lee, photographer August 1937

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons grated orange rind

1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice

4 1/2 cups sugar

3 quarts blueberries

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves or nutmeg

1/4 cup liquid pectin

***************************************

Sterilize 6 pint jars or 12 1/2 pint jars, and lids.

Stir the lemon juice, orange rind, orange juice and sugar in a large pot, bring to a rolling boil.

Add berries and bring to a full boil again.

Add cinnamon, cloves/nutmeg and pectin, and boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.

Makes about 6 pints.

Originally from House & Garden, August 1962

 

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Negro musicians playing accordion and washboard in automobile. Near New Iberia, Louisiana.  1938 Oct.  Russell Lee, photographer (Library of Congress)

Negro musicians playing accordion and washboard in automobile. Near New Iberia, Louisiana. 1938 Oct. Russell Lee, photographer (Library of Congress)

I don’t know what it is about the accordion that delights me. It is such a phenomenally versatile instrument. It’s not just for polkas.

Take as an example, “Nerdy Accordion Hero.” I have no idea what his name is or where he is from, but the sound he makes is astonishing.

It wouldn’t be Gogol Bordello without the accordion.

Imagine then how I swooned on discovering “Let’s Polka, a website devoted to all things accordion.” My favorite series is “MP3 Monday” where one finds all manner of amazing music.

I love Jason Webley’s Dance While The Sky Is Crashing Down in the August 24, 2009 MP3 Monday post.

Wendy McNeill is a credit to Canada. She was featured in Let’s Polka’s July 13, 2009 MP3 Monday.

Vagabond Opera makes me want to move to Portland, Oregon.

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Russell Lee)

Jack Whinery and his family, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico. September 1940. (Photo: Russell Lee)

Annie Leibovitz’s photos of President Obama’s Cabinet and various “teams” are up over at Vanity Fair.

I’m not at all impressed.

if there is a concept, it is to show the Cabinet and team members in sleeves-rolled-up-pulled-away-from-what-I-was-doing attire but the backgrounds are a mishmash — some in front of a scrim, some apparently in a back hallway, some in a not very prosperous looking conference room, occasionally with other people who are waiting to be photographed wandering aimlessly or breathlessly in the background.

In some of the photos the people are looking at the camera, smiling. In other photos some people are looking at the camera, smiling, while others look like no one called “action.” Still other photos look like people were put into a room with a hidden camera operated by remote.

The people who don’t look like they’re there for their elementary school picture look like they’re waiting for a bus or a pink slip. In a number of the photos, the focus is off on some of the people and not others, but not off enough to look purposeful, just annoying, like there’s something on my computer screen making that person’s face less sharp.

There is a casualness to these photos which is not so much studied informality as “I get paid a lot and at this point people think I’m great because I get paid a lot, so screw any kind of aesthetic, let’s just get it done.”

That impression is only increased with the last photo in the group.

Why are Caroline and Senator Edward Kennedy included in this group of photos titled “The O Team”? Whether Leibovitz and Caroline Kennedy are pals and Caroline came along for the ride, the Senator coincidentally being at the Capital and Leibovitz throwing in a freebie for her pal, who knows, but the inclusion of this photo only increases the sense of “what the fuck” I was left with after viewing the first fourteen.

Whatever the reason for its inclusion, I am grateful for it because, despite its serious imperfections, it was like balm after the sandpaper on the eyeballs of the first fourteen photos.

In the last photo Teddy — looking pretty well, though definitely old — appears to be telling a story to Caroline. Unfortunately, the effect is spoiled by Caroline doing her best pose as “interested listener.” And did Leibowitz really think the fan blowing Caroline’s hair necessary? They’re in an office, for crying out loud, not on a mountaintop. In keeping with the previous photos, the Kennedys look like they’re whiling away time waiting for a bus, although the setting is more attractive, not at all like a bus station. In fact, it’s more in keeping with the waiting room of a prosperous doctor’s office. Perhaps they are waiting for the doctor.

I was hoping for better but the best you can say is that you can tell what these folks look like. Mostly.

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Russell Lee (possibly 1942)

Russell Lee (possibly 1942)

The Library of Congress has a fascinating collection of over 600 photographs taken in Pie Town, New Mexico by documentary photographer Russell Lee, mostly black & white but a fair number in color.

Russell Lee is one of a number of photographers hired to work under Roy Stryker in the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the Depression “to document the plight of the rural poor.” The FSA collection in The Library of Congress Archives archives contain approximately 77,000 images and are well worth a visit or two.

Log privy on homesteaders farm.  June 1940

Log privy on homesteader's farm. June 1940

Pie Town in the 1930s was being homesteaded by families from Oklahoma and Texas looking to build a new life.

Burros pulling cart which Mr. Leatherman, homesteader, is driving.  June 1940

Burros pulling cart which Mr. Leatherman, homesteader, is driving. June 1940

It was surprising to me to see how primitively people were living in America as recently as the 1940s.

New dugout of Faro Caudill. Another room, which will be completely aboveground, will be added shortly.  June 1940

New dugout of Faro Caudill. Another room, which will be completely aboveground, will be added shortly. June 1940

I have wondered what happened to the families photographed by Russell Lee.

Jack Whinery and his family, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico, September 1940

Jack Whinery and his family, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico, September 1940

I located an answer in the form of an article by Paul Hendrickson and published by Smithsonian magazine in 2005 documenting what he found when he visited Pie Town 65 years after Russell Lee.

Pinto beans, main crop at Pie Town, New Mexico.  October 1940

Pinto beans, main crop at Pie Town, New Mexico. October 1940

When Russell Lee arrived in 1939 Pie Town “boasted a Farm Bureau building, a hardware and feed store, a café and curio shop, a hotel, a baseball team, an elementary school, a taxidermy business.”

Farm children buying candy at the general store.  June 1940

Farm children buying candy at the general store. June 1940

They had daily (except Sunday) stagecoach service, “operated by Santa Fe Trail Stages, with a uniformed driver and with the passengers’ luggage roped to the roof of a big sedan or woody station wagon.”

All express and freight comes in by this stage.  June 1940

All express and freight comes in by this stage. June 1940

I am in awe of what they were able to accomplish.

Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt which she made.  October 1940

Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt which she made. October 1940

Not too many years later the weather changed and the farms and gardens and homesteaders disappeared.

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jack Whinery, homesteader.  September 1940

Garden adjacent to the dugout home of Jack Whinery, homesteader. September 1940

Today the homesteaders of the 1930s are gone and Pie Town is “no more than a wide spot in the road.” But they still love their pie.

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