New House. Cumberland Farms. Alabama. 1935.
Arthur Rothstein arrived in the Dust Bowl Boise City, Oklahoma in April of 1936 hired by his former professor Roy Stryker, at the Resettlement Administration. It was a New Deal agency that relocated struggling families to communities built by the federal government. He shot the most famous photograph of his career at the homestead of Art Coble in rural Cimarron County. "I was about to get into my car when I turned to wave to... And I looked and saw this man bending into the wind, with one of the boys in front of him and another one behind him, and great swirls of sand all around, which made the sky and the earth become one. And I said, 'What a picture this is!' and I just picked up my camera and went 'click.' One photograph, one shot, one negative." The image Rothstein captured at the Coble farm was soon widely reprinted across the country, becoming the iconic picture of the Dust Bowl and one of the most widely reproduced photographs of the 20th century. Rothstein is remembered as one of America's most influential photojournalists.
The FSA (Farm Security Administration) is famous for its well known influential photography program that portrayed the challenges of rural poverty. Creating false perceptions of individuals (A prime example of situational manipulation), photographers were hired to report and document the plight of poor farmers. In 1935–44, eleven photographers would come to work on this project. They were: Arthur Rothstein, Theo Jung, Ben Shahn, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Carl Mydans, Russell Lee, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, John Vachon, and John Collier. In total, the black-and-white portion of the collection consists of about 175,000 black-and-white film negatives.