Black and White

These paths we follow by ellie berry

Lines are phenomena in themselves. They really are, in us and around us... Indeed there is no escaping them, for any attempt to flee we only lay another one. Why should theory and metaphor be thought to be the only alternatives for the line? Why cannot the line be just as real as whatever passes along it, if indeed the two can be distinguished at all? 

- Lines: A Brief History by Tim Ingold

I'm still walking around the country. To date we've walked 2,600km, with a further 1,400km to go. However, for the past few weeks we've been having some down time. I spent a few days with my family, and turned 24. They asked me: "So, what do you want to do for your birthday?"
I didn't really know, hadn't thought of something in the time leading up to it. I then asked them to get up at 5:45am and climb a mountain. It was the first morning in weeks that there were clouds, and as we started our climb we kept our jumpers tight around us. After a while the heat of the climb warmed our limbs, and the clouds rushed around us as we pushed forward. It was a wind-swept, cloud howling summit, with only a few meters of visibility. But it was wonderful to be able to share one of my loves with people I love. 

It was also around now that I was tagged to post a black and white photo of "my everyday life" for seven days. I haven't been tagged to do one of these internet things in a long time, and I really enjoyed using black and white again. It really makes you focus on shapes and light, and with the ideas of lines already wandering around in my head I found the two topics collided rather perfectly. 

Holes by ellie berry

Farm Security Administration photo archive:
Untitled photo, possibly related to nearby photo captioned: Tobacco lands after the Connecticut River had subsided near Hatfield, Massachusetts. Photographed in 1936.

"Holes Punched Through History"

The Atlantic Article
"In 1935, Roy Stryker became the head of the Information Division of the U.S. government’s Farm Security Administration (FSA), documenting work done by the government to help poor farmers and their families during the Great Depression... In the early years, Stryker himself reviewed and edited photographs mailed in by FSA photographers, and would often “kill” a photo he disapproved of (remove it from consideration for publishing) by punching a hole right through the negative. The photographers were unhappy with this destructive hole-punch method, and frequently let Stryker know, but he didn’t stop until about 1939."

This evening I was flicking past Twitter when The Atlantic's short article appeared. With barely any more text than what I've quoted above, the altered negatives were left to speak for themselves. It's clear these holes are not made at random, but attack supposedly specific parts of each image - sometimes the face; sometimes central; sometimes without logic, but aesthetically placed. 

Below are some of the images featured in The Atlantic Article, followed by more that I then found myself through the Library of Congress. 

Most of the punched negatives are "untitled", but reference other negatives within their description - such as the two below:

In my reading of the images, the hole goes from offering some comedic moments, to taking on a whole persona. 
I've a lot more I want to say on these images, but that will take time of me searching for the right way to say it. So for now I'm going to share these images with you, because they are too intriguing not to. 

Let me know what you think. 

On a side note,

When I was younger I used to read a lot - possibly too much. For one excuse or the other, the amount of reading I was doing pretty much dried up to nothing. To throw myself back in the deep end, I'm going to read a book a week. Last week's book was Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. This weeks book is Wanderlust: A history of walking by Rebecca Solnit. If you have any recommendations, pass them on! 

The Palace of the People by ellie berry

When in St. Petersburg, I was a bit surprised when I was told our city tour was going to be having a talk in the metro. When taking the escalator down some 120meters underground, our tour guide gave the simple introduction of:
"After the wealth of the tzars, it's not surprising that our new government wanted to give something back to the workers. And so, they built the metro, as the Palace of the People." 

The shots are quite "touristy" but the place was so amazing I wanted to post them.