Thursday, November 14, 2013

Frank Hohenberger

I find that I am loving this guy's work more and more. He was a small town photographer and his subjects were as humble as his environment - no portraits of the rich and glamorous for him, nor any gleaming cityscapes. Just local down-home folks, caught in daily life, for the most part. He did do a lot of portraits where people were posing, but even these have a fresh quality about them. 

It's true that the Depression-era photographers (Dorothea Lange et al.) photographed "down-home" folks as well, but they were looking in from the outside and their work sometimes comes across almost like "poverty porn." (In retrospect, that was a poorly chosen phrase and implies that I lack respect for the work of the Depression-era photographers. I do not - their work was great and very valuable in portraying the dire conditions in the country to the nation and particularly to those in a position to do something about it.) In Mr. Hohenberger's work, one gets the sense that he knew most of the people he was photographing, and even the poverty-stricken among them have some sense of dignity.

 11th Infantry coming through Nashville, Indiana, 1931
  
 Alex Mullis and wife, Mandy (Fleetwood) Mullis seated 
under cottonwood tree, Van Buren, Indiana, 1922
  
 Backyard at Wash Barnes place, Mrs. Barnes in picture, with hat, 1922
  
 Baptizing near Anderson church, Brown County, Indiana, 1927
  
 Barnum & Bailey circus ticket booth, 1942
  
 Boys smoking bees from cabin, 1933
  
 Community Club, Martinsville visit, 1927
  
 Crowd at auto, 1924
  
 Crowd at Collins Calvin sale, 1923
  
 Daughter of Dr. Weinstein and son, posing for Shulz painting, 1925
  
 Don McClure and group near Rose hill road turn, 1929
 
Elkins home and portraits of sisters, Elkinsville, 1929

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