Killed: Rejected Images of the Farm Security Administration

William E. Jones

Killed reproduces a suite of 157 images “killed” by Roy Stryker, director of the FSA, and are organized alphabetically by photographer: Walker Evans, Theodor Jung, Carl Mydans, Marion Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn. and John Vachon. Alongside these images, Jones includes a selection from John Collier Jr., Russell Lee, and David Myers that illustrate possible evidence of homosexuality within the mainstream. He states: “Many (perhaps even most) viewers would find in the archive not a trace of homosexuality, but I refused to believe that it was completely absent from the visual record of the Great Depression. An historical queer presence must have been documented, if only unconsciously or accidentally, by the photographers of the FSA.”

“Puncture Wounds,” the first of two critical essays Jones has contributed to the book, discusses the Library of Congress’s image archive that began as the Resettlement Administration (1935-37), the Farm Security Administration (1937-42), and then the Office of War Information (1942-44). and he hypothesizes on what motivated Stryker to kill certain negatives; though he emphasizes: “More pertinent to the subject of this book, the practice of socially committed documentary photography has fallen into disfavor at an historical moment when it is needed again … we don’t even know we are in a depression, because no one has given us an image of it.” In his second essay, “Perversion,” Jones advocates reinterpreting history utilizing publicly accessible image archives, in essence perverting them, since “they have become so encrusted with conventional pieties that we can hardly see them any longer … [the FSA collection] is not a memorial or a temple with dogma for us to obey, but a site for reinvention.”

Price on request

PPP Editions, 2010
First edition; 1000 copies, signed.

Oblong 4to.; tri-tone; cloth covered boards, stamped in white, paper label affixed to spine.

︎︎︎ Exhibition