“I’m out to sing the songs that will prove to you that this is your world, no matter what color, what size you are, or how you were built.” Woody Guthrie
Yesterday I drove to the Central Valley to photograph the Fresno County Blossom Trail. I wanted to reconnect with the part of myself that knows Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” and “Tom Joad.”
I have traveled home several times during the recent drought years to photograph the blossoms. The farmers found water, but each year life felt more desperate.
There is a beauty about the valley. Many people never experience it. Many people never experience the struggle either; they only read about it from John Steinbeck.
People have migrated to California for more than one hundred years searching for a better life. In the 1930’s, Okies searched for work in the fields of the Central Valley. In the following decades, people from other parts of the world have followed.… Read the rest
It is a few minutes past midnight on Sunday March 9, 2014. I have just returned home from Fresno County and I decided to post my photos from my last Fresno County visit. I wanted to post while it was still International Women’s Day, because this story reveals something unexpected about the struggle for liberty. The post is late, just as liberation often arrives later than desired.
In January, I published the first installment of my long term project about Japanese Americans Internment Camp Survivors. When I returned to Reedley, California three weeks ago, Libby and her mother joined us. Libby and Tisha are related to many of the people I photographed in January.
Libby is my friend [wb_fb_f name=”Carol Egoian” id=””]’s granddaughter. Carol is my connection to the story. Carol introduced me to the Art of Gaman and she introduced me to many of her family members, including those who survived the relocation camps.… Read the rest
A journey is a person in itself… We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. – John Steinbeck
Sometimes I have to let go. Too much happened in February. I want to understand it and explain all of it. Now. I want to explain one February and the last 140 years of the Central Valley… and I want to explain it all with one blog post, five photos, a Steinbeck quote and a country music song.
On Valentine’s Day, I took a trip through the San Joaquin Valley. The same day that President Obama visited Fresno to discuss the drought with area farmers, I visited Fresno County to continue a project about Japanese-American internment camp survivors. I wondered which US President I would want to share a drought with (not draught beer), especially if I were a small farmer. Has any US President supported the interest of the small farmer in the Central Valley?… Read the rest
Lately, I have wondered if God were my D.J. At the exact moment I need to hear a song, Pandora, Whole Foods, or some random person selects the song with the appropriate message. During the last two weeks, I have heard John Denver’s Country Road two times. I am not from West Virginia, yet the song reminds me of my old Central Valley home town. The day after hearing the song a second time, my favorite Fresno County farmers told me to visit the Fresno County Blossom Festival. NOW!
On my good days, I trust that God and farmers will feed my soul and nourish my body. I am grateful that I listened last week. I woke up two hours before sunrise Wednesday morning, turned on the radio, turned onto the interstate and headed for the country roads. As the sun rose, “I (could) hear her voice, in the morning hour.” Fresno called me… taking me home.… Read the rest