I/Eye: On Photography

Dancers by Delano

Posted in Other Photographers by Sheila Newbery on October 9, 2009

I came across this wonderful photo of tap dancers (1942) by Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographer Jack Delano at the Library of Congress’ archive of black and white photos from the FSA/OWI (Prints and Photographs Division, call no. LC-USW3- 002809-D). Imagine the sound of all those shoes in that place…

Tap dancing in the gymnasium at Iowa State College (1942), Jack Delano

Tap dancing in the gymnasium at Iowa State College (Ames, Iowa 1942), Jack Delano

Like fellow FSA photographer Gordon Parks, Delano was an accomplished musician and composer. He wrote orchestral, choral, and chamber works, even ballets, and experimented with the use of electronic techniques in the score for the film, Desde las nubes. A native of Kiev, Ukraine, he settled in Puerto Rico in 1946, a few years after the FSA was absorbed into the Office of War Information (OWI).

Some 250,000 images of rural poverty in America were created by the FSA photographers. 164,000 of the surviving negatives can be viewed online at the Library of Congress link above.

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