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8 Comments Vintage
**TENT HOME, OWYHEE. May 1941**
Malheur County, Oregon, United States.
Original photograph by Russell Lee (Library of Congress)
[Link to the original](https://www.loc.gov/resource/fsa.8c01149/)
> ’Farmer and his wife in front of their tent home. Vale-Owyhee Irrigation project, Malheur County, Oregon. This is their first year on this land, in fact, they had been here only two months. This year they will devote time, energy and money to getting their land into cultivation. Livestock and chickens, etc. must also be accumulated before they will think too much about a house. This man has tried to get a FSA (Farm Security Administration) loan, but FSA judges that he had too little irrigatable land for a loan.’
I’m a huge fan of Russell Lee’s work. If I had to choose a favourite within Roy Stryker’s FSA photographers, Lee is in my top three. I spent a happy afternoon looking through his extraordinary body of work and found this one amongst all the gems I found in the treasure trove of the Library of Congress. The backstory indicated on Lee’s caption is in a similar vein to Dorothea Lange’s famous Migrant Mother. Despite the majesty of Oregon’s Owyhee canyonlands, the strewn debris and the bare basic necessities photographed speaks of a desperation that characterised much of Roosevelt’s America. It remains ambiguous if this couple made a living despite the rejection of a loan for vital tools and shelter, or simply faded away.
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So I definitely need a Fluffo brand old timey stool
He’s loving it while she’s questioning her life choices.
Think about it… you know they did oral back then an only showered once every full moon. The early 20th century was wild.
I just wonder, if they went all that way to get to Oregon, why not go just a little further and settle somewhere that’s not the shitty high desert?
This looks composed with props from a previous era. All of those metal cans look old even for 1941.
I like the essence, the feel of the original in B&W. If R. Lee wanted color, he would have done so.
That aside, would not care to be in their shoes comes winter if that little box of kindling if indication of the norm with wood gathering for their wood stove. Looks pretty damn barren out there.
Every detail of this photo is fascinating.