Economic Hardship Reporting Project

Guided by award-winning journalists Barbara Ehrenreich and Alissa Quart, the Economic Hardship Reporting Project is changing the national conversation around both poverty and economic insecurity. Their stories – from narrative features to photo essays and video – put a human face on financial instability.
Launched in 2012, EHRP arose in a bleak climate. Over the past decade, poverty in the U.S. has soared. Despite economic growth, inequality continues to rise. It’s the biggest domestic economic story of our lifetimes: intractable, long-term unemployment, a yawning income gap between the wealthy and the lower middle class, and record numbers of people in poverty.

We look forward to working with EHRP on a project addressing the landscape of daycare.
See another photographic project by Matt Black, The Geography of Poverty.

Photographs with Paint: Sebastian Bremer

Utilizing the artist’s signature style of obsessively applied dots of paint to a photographic surface, and adding etching to his working method, Bremer renders the subjects of this series in a dream-like haze of abstraction. Drawing from Surrealism, Modernism, and Cubism, the artist collages photographs and paintings together to create a seductive labyrinth of entangled bodies and art.
From the series, Ouroboros (2013)
From the series, Schoener Goetterfunken (2010)

Apocalyptic Sublime Landscapes - John Martin

The Last Judgement 1851-3

The Plains of Heaven 1851-3
John Martin's (1789-1854) great triptych, known as the Judgement Series was inspired by St John the Divine's fantastic account of the Last Judgement given in Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. Martin's aim in producing this series was highly Romantic: to express the sublime, apocalyptic force of nature and the helplessness of man to combat God's will. Of all Martin's biblical scenes, this presents his most cataclysmic vision of destruction, featuring an entire city being torn up and thrown into the abyss. 
The Great Day of His Wrath, 1851-3

The Book of Judgement is sealed with seven seals. As each seal is broken, mysterious and terrifying events occur, culminating in the breaking of the sixth seal:
and, lo, there was a great earthquake' and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; | And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. | And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. (Revelation 6:12-14)

Martin follows the biblical description closely, but adds his own sensational effects. A blood-red glow casts an eerie light over the scene. The mountains are transformed into rolling waves of solid rock, crushing any buildings that lie in their wake. Lightning splits the giant boulders which crash towards the dark abyss, and groups of helpless figures tumble inexorably towards oblivion.

The three pictures in the triptych became famous in the years after Martin's death and were toured throughout England and America. They were described as 'The most sublime and extraordinary pictures in the world valued at 8000 guineas' (quoted in Wilson, p.76). Many mezzotints of the pictures were sold, but the vastness and theatricality of Martin's visions now appeared outmoded to the mid-Victorians, and the paintings themselves failed to find a buyer. By the twentieth century, Martin's work had fallen into obscurity and he became known as 'Mad Martin'. In 1935 the triptych was sold for seven pounds and the separate panels dispersed. It was reunited by the Tate in 1974.

Adam Panczuk's social document Karczeby: The Roots of Polish Life

In eastern Poland, the word Karczeb is used to describe a stubborn tree stump as well as a farmer firmly rooted to the land he cultivates. Adam Panczuk's book presents a personal, almost mythological, look at these people and their lives. Through the series we see a deep personal, connection from Panczuk towards his subjects, intermingled with wonderfully personal texts from self admitted Karczeb, Kazimierz Kusznierow. 

Karczeby, 2008-2010

Lewis Hine: Advocate for Child Labor Laws

One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mill. She was 51 inches high. Has been in the mill one year. Sometimes works at night. Runs 4 sides - 48 cents a day. When asked how old she was, she hesitated, then said, "I don't remember," then added confidentially, "I'm not old enough to work, but do just the same." Out of 50 employees, there were ten children about her size. Whitnel, North Carolina.
Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) was born in Oshkosh, WI  studied sociology and became a teacher in New York City where he studied with pioneer social documentarian, Jacob Riis. Hine felt so strongly about the exploitation of children as workers that he became an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee. He always captioned his images in order to emphasize and humanize the conditions under which these children toiled. In the first decade of the 20th century. He traveled across the United States photographing the working conditions of children in all types of industries -- coal mines, meat-packing plants,  textile mills, and canneries. Children working at menial urban tasks like shoe shiners, newsboys, and hawkers were also his subjects. Hine's images of working children helped change the nation's labor laws. 
Overview of Child Labor with Hine's captioned photographs can be found at History Place and The National Archives. Find out about contemporary children's who won the Lewis Hine Award.
Furman Owens, 12-years-old. Can't read. Doesn't know his A,B,C's. Said, "Yes I want to learn but can't when I work all the time." Been in the mills 4 years, 3 years in the Olympia Mill. Columbia, South Carolina.

Manuel the young shrimp picker, age 5, and a mountain of child labor oyster shells behind him. He worked last year. Understands not a word of English. Biloxi, Mississippi.


The Critique of Reason Exhibition

The Critique of Reason: Romantic Art, 1760-1860, the first major collaborative exhibition between the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art. The exhibition's eight thematic sections juxtapose arresting works that reveal the Romantics as attentive explorers of their natural and cultural worlds. The exhibition suggests that the Romantic movement in art was not solely an exploration of introversion and fantasy. In many ways, the Romantics were "attentive explorers of their natural and cultural worlds."

After documenting daycare centers throughout Milwaukee for a number of years,  and encouraged by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, we have begun thinking about the "bigger picture."  From this perspective we were inspired to view this cultural landscape as a collision of well intentioned legislation,  economic reality and unintended consequences creating an opportunities for visual metaphor.
Henry Fuseli, DanaĆ« and Perseus on Seriphos(?),
 ca. 1785–90. Oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery,
University Purchase, Associates in Fine Arts Fund

To learn more, visit the exhibition website.
George Stubbs, A Lion Attacking a Horse, 1762. Oil on canvas. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

A Contemporary Mythographer: Dina Goldstein

Dina Goldstein is a photographer and Pop Surrealist based in Vancouver; for Dina, photography is intended to evoke and wrest feelings of shame, anger, shock, and empathy in order to inspire insight into the human condition.  Her photographic productions are philosophical, satirical, technical, and visually stunning. 

Fallen Princesses takes the “happily ever after” motif and creates metaphor out of the myths of fairy tales, forcing the viewer to contemplate real life: failed dreams, addiction, obesity, cancer, cultural extinction, pollution, war, and the desire for eternal youth. This project exposes the consumerism that immortalizes these stories, and questions the notions of idealism within Pop Culture. Her second large scale project, In The Dollhouse, is a sequential narrative that takes on one of the most powerful symbols of Western culture: the beloved and idealized American couple, Barbie and Ken. Using satire, she subverts the myth of “perfection” by exploring this idealistic childhood construct.