The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Shutterbug Friday #3:
John G. Moebes and the Rest of the Story

John G. Moebes was a photojournalist employed by the News & Record of Greensboro, North Carolina. He is perhaps best known for images he captured during the nascent hours of civil disobedience in the Civil Rights movement. When not documenting lunch-counter sit-ins, however, he photographed the balance of Greensboro citizens in more prosaic settings and circumstances. Here is a sampling of that work:

















































18 comments :

-K- said...

Each one of these is wonderful.

Jessica R. said...

The one of the little girls at Halloween looks like something out of Arbus. Or a still from a horror film. I went to school at Greensboro 8 years ago so this is a facinating series, particularly because the pictures are not marred by some gooey sentimental version of the South. But instead are rather odd or dreamlike.

Pop9 said...

Very interesting, like a trip through the old city. And the last of these pictures is just wonderful.

Young Stalin said...

summerteeth!

Jordan said...

The last image in this post was used by the band Wilco as the cover for their album Summerteeth. I was wondering if anyone knows the title of the photo and/or what is going on in the picture. Is someone blowing a huge bubblegum bubble?

Gerard Saylor said...

That last photo is the cover of Wilco's Summerteeth album.
http://images.google.com/images?q=wilco%20summerteeth&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi

Check said...

Love the series

Any more details about the nc kkk rally photo? Would love to know where it was taken, and if any more form that scene are available

marietta said...

Das Triviale im Leben wird auf einigen Foto`s von John G.Moebes noch trivialer,das ist ein Phaenomen.Das nimmt uns nichts an der Freude von Schulfesten und Aufuehrungen der kinder.Maerchenhaft,der aufgeblaene Mond,Poesie.

Fred said...

I'm guessing the Halloween kids borrowed the sheets from their parents, who didn't need them until December 21st anyway.

The bubble at the end is appropriate. What happened to Greensboro when that bubble burst and the prosaic day was united with the grim and bloody night?

Murray said...

I had always wondered what the image on the cover of Wilco's Summerteeth album was. Now I know.

Inquiring Camera Girl said...

Those little cowboys in the classroom are adorable. And the deputy looks like Barney Fife. :)

Christopher said...

wow..why do I feel like a tot again in Midland Park NJ in 1964?..
..LOL..DATSUN..I'd forgotten about those..gone the way of GAF..or as Henry Fonda would say..GGGEEAF

Rab Hines said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Milan said...

Fantastic. Where can I get more? Somebody said Arbus but I think it's more like Joe Mitchell bought him a camera and moved back home from New York.

Kreisler said...

Thanks very much for posting these, they're fantastic. Does anybody know what the people on the roof are doing (or are they just hanging out on the roof?)

Plum said...

It took me a while to figure out what was so familiar in the first American Girl shot. The young lady looks very much like Marilyn Monroe, particularly in that "candid" Avedon shot.
http://images.artnet.com/artwork_images_396_8098_richard-avedon.jpg

AnneM said...

Well, first, thank you to Tom for posting this series and the complimentary inference as well as to the posters for all their complements. I am just now seeing this a year later, so probably no one will see my comments, but to answer some of the questions:

re the people on the roof: that is a fraternity house in greensboro, likely unc-g. not sure the occasion though.

yes, it is a girl blowing a bubble, and wilco licensed the photo from corbis where my father's collection of 200+ photos can be found and licensed including most of those posted here.

sorry, don't know much about the kkk rally location, but i think what's interesting to me about the photo is that it is juxtaposed with some rather prosaic advertisements about lawn services etc. as if a kkk rally is just another mundane posting; actually, in my whole time growing up in the south, i never saw a rally or such a posting other than my father's photo.

what's not here are a few of my favorites, which really capture, I think, my father's gift for irony. A car that smashed through the window of a "Drive In" restaurant with the marquee "Drive In" prominently displayed in the photo; the reflection of a bald man in a department store window as he wistfully looks at women's wigs; and a construction working sitting on the "roof" of a Christian Science reading room, reading a pulp magazine. My father was truly gifted and loved every day of his job, working for the Greensboro News and Record for 30 years. In about October 2010 i will be launching a website in tribute to his work, which will likely be www.jackmoebes.com; please come visit the site.

feel free to write me as well at anne_moebes@yahoo.com

Again, thanks everyone for the kind remarks.

Gerard Saylor said...

Thanks, AnneM. I'm still subscribed to this post and get back to read your comment.