Monday, October 29, 2007

The Crash

On this day, October 29, in the year 1929 the stock market crashed, and ushered in the Great Depression. This Dorothea Lange photograph captures the human cost of this tragedy. The crash followed the roaring 20's, a time of exuberant excess in the United States. Shortly before the crash several pundits predicted a new era of prosperity, in which the market could continue to appreciate indefinitely.

I some times wonder if such a tragedy could happen again. What do you think? Could we ever see this magnitude of poverty in the United States again?


  1. The words of Robert Frost seem appropriate:
    "When to the heart of man
    was it ever less than a treason
    to go with the drift of things
    to yield with a grace to reason.
    To bow and accept the end
    of a love, or a season."
    We do not easily accept what is so painfully obvious: the end wil come. It always does.

  2. About a similar photograph, Dorothea Lange said the following:

    "I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it."

    [That photograph and a short bio of Lange can also be found at the link directly above]

  3. I find the image exquisite, and your comment chillingly prescient. I've just posted the photo. Thank you for this beautiful presence.

  4. the crash didn't get followed by the roaring 20's especially not if the crash was in 1929


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