Kalischer documented the arrival of Holocaust refugees to the U.S. in the late 1940s, and over the next several decades he traveled throughout Europe and the U.S. capturing everyday scenes from people’s lives. The images on these pages depict art students and artists in New England and New York from the 1950s through the 1980s.
Slab City is a squatters’ community located on a desolate swath of Southern California desert, just a few miles from the town of Niland. Drifters, dropouts, artists, outlaws, and other cultural dissidents have been coming here for more than four decades. They set up camps on the crumbling concrete foundations of a former military base and live in trailers, vans, and buses.
The people pictured on these pages are some of the last floating-trap fishermen in Rhode Island. Floating traps — a system of large nets anchored to the ocean floor near the shore — date back to pre-Roman times and have been used in North America since the arrival of the Europeans. Fish swimming along the shoreline get funneled by the nets into a trap at one end, and the fishermen arrive each morning to scoop them out.
Looking at the pictures, I think perhaps the face with eyes closed provides a glimpse of each person’s inner self.
Football is arguably the country’s most popular spectator sport, producing highly paid professionals, luxurious stadiums, and college bowl games. But there are still places in the U.S. where football is reminiscent of another time.
At Vicky’s invitation I accompanied her on a weeklong route. When I arrived with all my camera equipment, Vicky laughed. “Girl, I can’t believe how much you packed.” After loading the cab, Vicky made sure her cat Simba was curled safely on the bunk, and the three of us headed out.
I drove into New Orleans’ Ninth Ward a year and a half after Hurricane Katrina had left it in ruins. Friends who had been there had told me the devastation was “unbelievable.” I wondered what that meant — unbelievable.
I am compelled to leave every few months with my backpack and cameras and a ticket to some distant place. I travel as simply as I can, with a tent, a sleeping bag, some cooking gear, and small gifts to give to people I befriend along the way. I am drawn in particular to the indigenous peoples of the world and their vanishing customs. They have taught me groundedness, humility, wisdom, and authenticity.
“In the circus,” photographer Gordon Stettinius writes, “reality becomes mutable and life an illusion. . . . Everything is not necessarily what it purports to be. But then, what is?”