31 January 2015

Life Across America

"Little Leaguers (including their formidable leader, Dick Williams, center), await missing parts of their uniforms, Manchester, New Hampshire" Yale Joel (1954).

This afternoon I caught the last day of the "Life Across America" exhibit at the Leica Gallery. Comprised of iconic images from the pages of Life Magazine, the exhibit served as a reminder of the importance of the publication whose mix of celebrity and everyday people photos made it one of the great chroniclers of the 20th century. With just one image Life's photographers, who ranked among the best in the field, could convey the American experience to readers around the world.

A perfect example is this image by Yale Joel that originally ran in the June 28, 1954 issue. These Little Leaguers, waiting in a classroom for the missing parts of their uniforms, appear to be bored, restless, or just tired (look at the boy yawning in the back). Yet one boy, Dick Williams, clearly fed up with having to wait, stands in defiance, voicing a complaint on behalf of his fellow teammates. We've all known a Dick Williams. He was the kid you could always count on to speak up when everyone else was too shy or indifferent. He didn't care about getting in trouble; he just wanted to right a wrong whether it was complaining about unfair treatment or simply trying to get a pair of pants. What a brilliant photo.

The exhibit is now over but to find out more about the Leica Gallery and upcoming events visit here.

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