Let us now praise the famous men and women of the countryside (text and photographs by antonio mozeto, são carlos, sp, brazil)

Looking carefully and attentively at these two portraits, I see a small passage in my head containing great words by James Agee when he says to whom his (great) book “Let us now praise famous men” (*) (Cia das Letras. Translation by Caetano W. 2009. James Agee and legendary photos of Walker Evans) had been written:

… “In any case, this is a book about ‘sharecroppers’, and it is written for all those who have a weakness in their hearts for the laughter and tears inherent in poverty seen from afar, and especially for …”enjoy a little better and more guilty the next good meal you have ”(page 31).

My message here is simply this: many of us do not realize the hard daily work of a rural worker in the production of food that reaches the tables of our families in Brazil and even many around the world. This is also true for the production of commodities that are mostly exported.

About the photos: potato harvest in Casa Branca (SP), Brazil. 2019.

(*) book (journalist, poet and writer James Rufus Agee) and photographs (photographer Walker Evans) generated in the period of June-August 1936 when both worked on the production of a report (which in fact NEVER came to be published in the press) in Alabana state, USA, in order to portray the effects of the devastating period of the Great Depression. They even lived with three ‘meeiros’ families, establishing a very close relationship with several people.

Both the book and the photographs translate well this degree of involvement given the emotion and the level of detail with which Agee describes people, houses, their rooms and belongings. Evans’ photographs corroborate everything Agee writes, and even add even more emotion.

In short: “Evans’ photographs are, for me, the natural visual lexicon of Agee’s delightful descriptions. Sensations, the spirit of places and objects spontaneously spill out of Evans’ images ”.

2 comments

  1. The hero’s we don’t see, or worse, don’t recognize for what they do.

    Liked by 1 person

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