This is an amazing opportunity to view images that changed the worlds view of civil right in America. Charles Moore was a man with a social conscience that used his camera when words had little meaning. He forever changed what we know as documentary photojournalism.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been enjoying discussions about photography and the images of those who came before us with friend and fellow photographer, John Fasulo. John’s mentor is David Plowden who has documented America’s past in such books as Imprints, Vanishing Point and A handful of Dust.
This past week we lost two of the greats in Charles Moore and Jim Marshall. One I had met and one I know through his body of work and gracious friendship to Adam Wright a young photographer/publisher who’s ground-breaking images in HAULER and ROAD COURSE magazines have developed a large cult following (a new book is on the horizon.)
There must be about fifty years of experience that separates the oldest to the youngest of this group, all sharing the common bond of recording elements of our society that teeter on the edge of disappearing.
Trains, motorcycles, wood or rusted metal we all seem gravitate to subjects reflective of age and just plain cool… Adam may have said it best, “I strictly just do it for me.”
CHARLES MOORE DEAD AT 79:
I met Mr. Moore in April 1991 when he was giving a series of lectures at Iowa State University. A dedicated, passionate, journalist this world will ever know. He spoke with compassion of his work and subjects. He looked you in the eye with a smile and a good heart. It was his work, and that of Gordon Parks that would inspire my desire to be a photojournalist…I’m guessing hundreds more just like myself. We’re fortunate his work lives to educate those that have forgotten the past.
As we remember the challenges of Reverend King and those struggles that we still face today in reaching equality for all men and women, also remember those who documented the fight.
Few photographers in the history of documentary photography have made such an impact on the world with his images as those of Charles Moore while covering the Civil Rights Movement during the early 1960’s.
Take the time to review the photographer’s heart and passion.
I guess it’s natural to become a little reflective on a historic week such as this.
Growing up in a small southern Oregon town you don’t really think much about color since there is so little of it and it was during a time you would never had thoughts of a black president.
Other than Bruce, my two best friends were Monty and Clarence.
Monty had brilliant red hair and enough freckles he looked tanned. He was a foster kid whose home life was not much different than if he worked in a dairy. I don’t remember him having more than one red thin sweater and a pair of torn cords. He lived a mile or so down the road near the canal. I remember asking my mom if we could just keep him.
Clarence was blessed with a smile that could melt the frozen Klamath snow. Not a big talker but out going.
He and his family lived in the old military housing near my grandmother. They were two story wood row houses that you would call the projects if still standing today.
Clarence was fearless and along with my Nonie (Italian for grandmother) taught me never to give in to it. “You never start nothing! But you finish it.” she would say. She could also wield a wood spoon like a Ninja.
To get from the school to Clarence’s you had to pass “Dirt-Clod Hill” named for the mountain of earth left from building the school which produced the hardest projectiles in the basin. You could expect daily attacks if walking alone. It’s where I had my first knife pulled on me. Racist names that make me cringe to this day but were used in abundance in the 50’s started the fray.
Calling that tiny piece of metal and plastic a knife might be giving the real thing a bad name. I had no running speed to speak of but played a lot of ball and four square so I pretty much owned you with a clod at thirty feet. My attacker found the same. Monty and Clarence never let me make that walk alone.
Many years later my work put me in the company of the Reverend C.T.Vivian whose words inspired and educated. He taught me that “Until you wake up every morning and look at a black face in the mirror you will truly never understand prejudice.”
The iconic images of Charles Moore, a white man born in the south, who covered the civil rights movement with a passion and a commitment to record history, was gracious to answer my every question.
These two men showed the nation that we don’t walk alone.