Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Faces from the Past

These are photos of the faces of men my father worked with in the 1950s.  I discovered a whole deck of these when I went through some of his things this past year.  I immediately thought that they wouldn't belong in 2012. Each face is distinct with unique lines that can be read like a story.
It seems that the faces around me now are mostly smooth and unchallenged, maybe some lines around the eyes and forehead.
Norman Rockwell explained, in Arthur Guptill's book Norman Rockwell: Illustrator, that his rural neighbors made good models because they were proud of who they were and would "die before trying to be like anyone else", and therefore have an "individuality unmarred by attempts at imitation".  I like that phrase.
I love what he says about city folks, "City people, on the other hand, are ridden by all sorts of strange inhibitions about appearance and tend thereby to lose their distinctiveness".
I feel convicted. I live in a small city but I believe the unceasing campaigns by internet, television and magazine whip us into a homogeneous mixture wherein unique, naive  faces with character are hard to find.

Photos copyright 2013 by John Randall York

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