Marion Post Wolcott
[Photographer, b. 1910, Bloomfield, New Jersey, d. 1990, Santa Barbara, California.]
Women are tough, supportive, sensitive, intelligent, and creative. They are survivors. Women have come a long way, but not far enough. Ahead still are formidable hurdles. Speak with your images from your heart and soul. Give of yourselves. Trust your gut reactions. Suck out the juices—the essence of your life experiences. Get on with it. It may not be too late.
Perhaps now, today, there is more opportunity for social commentary through photography because the scope of documentary photography has broadened, and the use of varied techniques to achieve the final image, or series of images, is widely accepted. It is no longer controversial.
My principal concern is to challenge photographers to document, in mixed media if they wish, or even just record, in still photographs as well as film and video, our present quality of life, the causes of the present malaise in our society—and the world—the evidences of it.
We were all inspired and revved up by the whole New Deal idea, and of changing things and trying to get people to understand what was going on, and what the condition of the country was. We were trying to show this graphically, because people will look at photographs when they won’t read things. We hoped that this would make an impact and change people’s ideas and their opinions.
When I took the FSA job, I already had battle scars. I had weathered... the first weeks as a female full-time staff photographer on the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin... The ten male photographers with whom I was to work, immediately put out their cigarette butts in my developer, spit in and hypoed it, probably peed in it; threw spit balls into my cubby-hole darkroom until my aim and speed became better than theirs. Finally, I exploded—telling them I was there to stay... That did it; we reached a truce... soon each one confidentially telling me that the others were wolves and he was going to be my protector.