An intriguing article by MFA Alumni Richard Robinson, featured on Time Lightbox.
"IN October of 1935, the FSA photographer Arthur Rothstein came to the mountains of Virginia for his first assignment as a professional photographer. He was sent to Virginia to photograph mountain residents before they would be moved to make way for Shenandoah National Park. Rothstein was at the beginning of one of the most storied careers in American Photography. At the FSA , with Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and others, he would produce the most important photographic record of the American Depression.
When I began Rothstein’s First Assignment, I was looking to explore the very notion of documentary truth. Rothstein’s First Assignment was to be a ‘documentary about a documentary.’ Borrowing ideas and techniques from Expanded Cinema, I wanted to produce a film that looked outside the conventional film framework. A film that questioned the documentary format and its relationship to truth.
As a photographer myself, I knew that the conditions of an assignment often conflict with the story you are sent to depict. There is often more than one story that confronts a photographer on assignment. For my film, I wanted to take the narrative that Rothstein was given and see what conflicts he might have had to confront. To find the other stories behind his assignment.
What Rothstein’s First Assignment discovered, was far more than it bargained for. Not only were there other stories, the difficult stories of how people were moved off their land to make Shenandoah National Park. There was also a very disturbing narrative that seemed to guide Rothstein in his work.” […]
Read More on Time Lightbox.