Every Worker is an Organizer
Fhotographs by David Bacon
This exhibit in the California State Capitol is organized by Assembly Member Luis Alejo and his staff, and is part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Farm Workers of America.
California State Capitol
Hallway next to the Governor’s Office
May 20-26, 2012
Open to the public
Farm labor is a key element historically in the photographic documentation of social reality in the US, and in particular the documentation of social protest. Dorothea Lange, Hansel Meith, Otto Hegel, and the generation of the 1930s and 1940s left a body of work showing the extreme exploitation of farm workers, and documenting the early farm labor organizing efforts, part of the great labor upsurge of those decades.
The iconography of social documentary photography was shaped by images like Lange’s mother and children in Nipomo, or those of the Pixley cotton strikers packed onto the back of a truck under their banner “Disarm the rich farmer or arm the workers for self-defense!” or the growers with their rifles waiting in ambush.
The first two decades of the growth of the United Farm Workers was undoubtedly one of the most-photographed social protests of the civil rights era. It too had its icons — the line of marchers on their way from Delano to Sacramento, silhoutted against the sky, or Cesar Chavez weakened by his fast, at the side of Robert Kennedy.
In 1994, a year after the death of Chavez, the union made a second march from Delano to Sacramento. In 1996, it began an effort to organize the central California coast strawberry industry, employing 25,000 workers. That struggle pitted workers and the union against mass firings, blacklists, company unions, and the use of the legal structure to subvert workers’ efforts. In 1998, workers at the country’s then second-largest vegetable grower, D’Arrigo Brothers walked out on strike in the Salinas Valley
The photographs in this exhibit document this period in the union’s history, especially the organizing drive in Watsonville and the strike at D’Arrigo. Some also document working lives of workers themselves. Strawberry pickers bend over double in the rows, run as they pick wine grapes or tomatoes, or balance at the top of date palms without safety lines. They show as well the extreme youth of farm workers today, where the average age has fallen to 20.
Like all workers, farm laborers take pride in the skill it takes to do their jobs, their bravery in the face of dangerous conditions (farm labor has one of the highest occupational injury rates of all US employment), and the social contribution they make in providing food for millions of people.
These are not images of passive exploitation, designed to elicit just a sympathetic response. They are a documentary record of the efforts workers have made to organize a union in the face of brutal working conditions and low wages.
The images are a view from below, looking at the work process and the union from the point of view of workers.
The UFW has had an enormous impact on the US labor movement over the last 50 years. It helped to inspire a resurgence of interest in organizing, and trained hundreds of people who went on to become organizers for unions and community organizations all across the country.
These photographs are part of a larger exhibition and documentary project about farm workers and migration tody. This set of images was exhibited at the Oakland Museum of California, the U.S. Labor College, Bread and Roses Gallery and the American Labor Museum, thanks to support from the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights and the Zellerbach Foundation.
Check out these amazing studio shots taken by Richard Babcock at our last photo circle. It’s a unique point of view — photographing the photographer. Many of us take photos because to avoid being in front of the camera, so these shots are even more special. Come join us next time!
Amazing documentary photographer, labor organizer, activist, and longtime De-Bug friend David Bacon talks about his book “Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants.” He knew De-Bug before it was De-Bug, and we are in solidarity with his art and his message all the way from the South Bay.
Truthout Contributor David Bacon on His New Book, “Illegal People”
Writer and photographer David Bacon has released the new book, “Illegal People – How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants.” (Courstesy: David Bacon)
David Bacon’s “Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants” is yours, shipped directly from Truthout, with a minimum one-time donation of $25, or a monthly commitment of $10 or more to Truthout “Illegal People” demythologizes the “immigration” issue and champions the dignity of people seeking work for survival while detailing the need for economic justice.
Mark Karlin: Isn’t the “immigration” debate in the United States really just a coded way of saying, “keep brown-skinned people from Mexico and Central America out of the United States”?
David Bacon: There’s certainly that exclusionary aspect to it. Immigrants coming from Mexico, Latin America, Asia and Africa have always been treated differently from those from Europe. Think about the difference between the experience of Europeans coming through Ellis Island into New York, which was relatively free (and without visas, incidentally), and, at the same time, the incarceration of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco Bay, as a result of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Come meet us at De-bug around 5:30 then we’re heading over to an offsite location (Lusthouse) to do some studio portraits. Don’t get intimidate by the name now…
We’re lucky to have Felipe Vazquez bless the Darkroom at De-bug with his beautiful prints. Check out this video on his love of photography, barrio, and culture.
VALLEY OF SHADOWS & DREAMS
A Heyday book
Photography by Ken Light
Text by Melanie Light
Forward by Thomas Steinbeck
January 17-May 15,2012
(save the date)
Reception & Book Signing
Friday, March 16th
“Valley of Shadows and Dreams explores a different California from the one that most people know—
a California far from Hollywood and Malibu and San Francisco, a California that in some elemental respects
has not changed much since the days of the Spanish conquistadors. The same sort of manual labor prevails in the fields,
the same exploitation of the weakest and poorest still blights the land. In this book you will find a powerful indictment
not only of what has happened lately in America’s largest state, but also of what is happening across this country right now.
The abuse of illegal immigrants, environmental degradation, the madness of a real estate bubble, and all the other problems
of the Central Valley are unfortunately relevant nationwide. Ken and Melanie Light bring great compassion and an eye for
beauty to this subject, facing hard truths but refusing to despair. As John Steinbeck argued more than seventy years ago,
the demand for justice and the need for true democracy are timeless, essential things.”
—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
Center for Photography
Corner of Hearst & Euclid, Berkeley
Reception 6:00-7:00 P.M.
Talk by the Authors & Special Guest 7:00-9:00 P.M.
Free & open to the public
Check out the new issue of Glassclops featuring super stunning photography by San Jose native son Abraham Menor, Stephen Brown, Aaron Cho, Paul Glover, Vladimir Tikay, and Kasha Guilfoyle-Jackson.
Vanessa’s photos give you an insight into San Jose’s youth culture. By capturing her life style Vanessa is creating a public time capsule that not only gives you a look into a recent San Jose youth, but the California lifestyle many from around the world dream of living. The photos are full of life, joy, and travels or as Vanessa likes to put it “Young, Broke & Livin’”
What — a photographer who shoots almost exclusively in film!! Yes!! 3,000 miles can separate us but we are showing love to Paul Glover who is based in Salem, Virginia.
Check out his site at www.paulglover.net and his flickr below…
A photoslide by Jean Melesaine of the Pacific Voyagers(pacificvoyagers.org/)ceremony on Treasure Island in San Francisco. The Pacific Voyagers have traveled on vakas(canoes) all the way from Aotearoab(NewZealand) stopping on the pacific islands(Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tahiti, etc.) on the way and have made their way to Treasure Island. accompanied by music of Chammoru American Music Artis Erica Nalani Benton’s “Back to Gua’han(what we have)”(facebook.com/ericanalanimusic)
Brought to you by De-Bug, Glassclops is set out to capture the medium that we love. As photographers, we realized that with the great downsizing of film products, we are at risk of losing a great art form. We do this magazine as a response to this pattern, and out of love. Our goal is to keep film alive, we feel the only way that we can do this is by partnering up with other photographers, photo magazines, blogs or anyone interested in film photography. In this we hope that we can promote Glassclops on your website, blog or something as simple as through your social network (Facebook,Twitter ect.). Also, please contact us if you would like to honor us with film images for an upcoming issue.
In this issue we feature: David Bacon (a world renowned photojournalist), Braulio Gonzalez ( a student photographer on the rise from East Palo Alto), Ronald Orlando (a musician photographer with profound images), Felipe R. Vasquez of Newark Califas (a photographer with keen eye for chicano culture imagery), and Charisse Domingo ( a photo journalist who showed us her first image she made).
If we unite digital won’t take over film, but just become a different medium.
Check out these photos by Bernardo Grijalva! Really captures the steel-ness of the bikes.
Don’t forget to support our homey Felipe! We love his photography at De-Bug!
Photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed in Libya on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Since the Vietnam war, the government has gone to great lengths to limit the images we see that make war more real. The bravery of these two men to document and “de-theorize” war, I hope, could live in those of us left behind. Check out more of the story here….
Check out these fancy photos by Tiburon FB! of local music band Davine. They performed at the “Quality Over Quantity” event hosted by the Knowbodies on Saturday, April 16th. For more images, check out www.siliconvalleydebug.com and for more images from Tiburon, check out catchitwithyourface.com
If you are in the Sacramento area, you have to check out these amazing photographers telling an important story of our times.
Beyond Borders: Immigration Images and Stories
Photographs by David Bacon and Kathya Landeros
Wed, 03/09/2011 – Sat, 04/02/2011
Artist Reception Date:
Fri, 03/11/2011 – 5:30pm – 9:00pm
An experienced photographer, journalist, and former labor organizer, Bacon’s stunning work of photographs and oral history documents the new reality of migrant experience: the creation of transnational communities. He takes us inside these communities and illuminates the ties that bind them together, the influence of their working conditions on their families and health, and their struggle for better lives.
Landeros, herself from a family of immigrants from Central Mexico, proposes that “If one can accept that the history of migratory policy toward Mexico has been complicated as we negotiate between our demands for labor and our need for cultural sovereignty, then we can acknowledge that the migrant communities that have developed in Mexico are a manifestation of these complexities.”
One of our favorite hometown photographers, Abraham Menor, is back in San Jose with lots of photos from his journey to the Motherland. He spent the holidays in the Philippines and has the photos to prove it. Check out the homeland through his eyes….
Check out this story. It shows that when photography is not about the best camera equipment, all we are left with is story and imagination.
Photos by Jean Melesaine. These are some TIGHT images. Beautiful! Check out Jean’s story on SJ Beez….
Current Exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market Street, SJ
“The power of photography lies in part in the ability of the camera to seemingly objectify the world—to selectively frame and focus our attention. This exhibition of modernist photographs and photogravures from the first half of the twentieth century emphasizes the role of the photographer as an eloquent, purposeful observer and as a masterful editor of everyday experience.
Artists represented in this exhibition include Ruth Bernhard, Walker Evans, John Gutmann, André Kertész, Arthur Rothstein, Peter Stackpole, and Weegee, among others.”
He’s a local photographer from Newark, CA who does amazing photos of Chicano culture and music. “”I want everyone who has eyes to be able to appreciate my work” Felipe R. Vazquez. This year, he’s shooting with only film after mastering digital for so long. He’s also mentoring youth in a photography program he designed with the Arts Association of the East Bay, a non-profit organization he helped start.