Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Monday, 27 September 2010

Russell Lee: Boom Town


.

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8b24000/8b24400/8b24435r.jpg

Signs in the oil town of Hobbs, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8b24000/8b24400/8b24437r.jpg

Main street Hobbs, New Mexico. Hobbs is an oil boom town: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8b24000/8b24400/8b24413r.jpg

Signs in front of theater, Hobbs, New Mexico
: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940


http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8b24000/8b24400/8b24436r.jpg

Cot house in the oil town of Hobbs, New Mexico. Hobbs is now experiencing a boom and the cot houses are necessary for the swarms of workers who come in. This is typical of all oil boom towns
: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Boarding house in oil boom town of Hobbs, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Houses of oil field workers in Hobbs, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Recess time at grade school in Hobbs, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsa/8b24000/8b24400/8b24438r.jpg

Store in Hobbs, New Mexico, oil boom town: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Shops on the main street of the oil boom town of Hobbs, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Oil well supplies, Hobbs, New Mexico: photo by Russell Lee, March 1940


Photos by Russell Lee from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress

5 comments:

TC said...

Playing at the Scout Theater, Hobbs, April 2:

White Zombie

curtisroberts said...

An odd reaction to these amazing Lee photos, perhaps, but when I look at them it makes me realize how much I love the way the United States looks in all the parts of it I've seen (which is more limited, I would imagine, than other visitors to this blog, or its author). I like it on the ground and I like it from the air. I would think that the White Zombie rock band could have made effective and profitable use of the Lee photo. Well, perhaps in a future compilation. Too bad that 12" discs and sleeves aren't standard format any longer.

TC said...

Curtis,

It's curious that Bela Lugosi gets top billing over God in Lee's amazing top photo here. Perhaps a signal of things to come in post-Boom times.

(It's also curious to consider the demographic analysis that may have stimulated the makers of the Halperin film to have all the standard voodoo scene trappings yet make all the principals Whites...)

The Hobbs scenes are, as Lee suggests in a caption, generic. In the late 70s on journalistic expeditions I visited some high plains boom towns of that "Energy Crisis" era, when wildcatters and webhats from all across the nation were rolling into Wyoming for purposes of temporary work in mineral extraction. Those landscapes were remarkably similar to the ones Lee captures here. Quick, gimcrack, light-on-the-ground, here-today-gone-tomorrow pseudo-communities.

wildstorm said...

Glad to have found this. I have some of Lee's photos of Hobbs. I was born in town and it's always a pleasure to find such treasures.

TC said...

Thank you for coming by.

I think we're on the same page, so to speak.

One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind. -- Dorothea Lange