Oct 22 2011: Photograph of a Woman and Two Girls in an Unidentified Landscape With Cacti (Date and Location Unknown)

This is a strangely beautiful image, granted a slightly surreal air by the cacti looming over the heads of the woman (a nurse, perhaps?) and two girls in the foreground. Behind them, a door appears to lead into the hillside itself, suggesting some kind of cave dwelling or shelter. It’s not clear where the landscape is: it could be Mediterranean, Mexican, somewhere in Arizona or California, or another place altogether. The clothes suggest a 1920s or 30s vintage, but again, apart from the evidence to be gathered from the details seen in the image itself, there’s no indication as to where or when the photograph was taken. There’s a feeling of slight familiarity here, too, but that’s as hard to pin down as the date and location. Perhaps it might be explained by a passing similarity to certain images by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Tina Modotti and Walker Evans, among others: none a very exact resemblance, it should be admitted, but a kind of sepia-toned, desert landscape mood much of the work of those photographers in this period shared in common with the image here and also, to some extent, with the contemporary writings of D.H. Lawrence.

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