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Pie Town Revisited


Since photographer Arthur Drooker was first exposed to Depression-era photography as a teenager, he held a desire to revisit a place that had been documented by a Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographer and make a visual record of what had become of it. But of all the places FSA photographers visited, where to go?

 When Drooker saw color pictures that Russell Lee, an FSA photographer, had made of homesteaders living like 19th century pioneers in Pie Town, New Mexico, he had his destination. Lee didn’t just photograph the homesteaders. He saw them. With his camera he declared, “You matter.” In making these photographs, Drooker made a connection with a community. At the beginning of this project its members were strangers. Through an accumulation of small acts that spoke volumes, they became friends. Their collective appreciation of the work made him hope, that just like Russell Lee, he had declared with his camera, “You matter.”

Roy Stryker, the head of the FSA photo unit, said that the goal of FSA photography was to “introduce America to Americans.” In doing so, the pictures would help unite citizens despite their differences. That goal resonates in our polarized times. In this spirit, Drooker  introduces to you a few Americans and the place they call home, Pie Town.

Pie Town Revisited will contain approximately 25-30 color photographs in various sizes. Labels and text to be supplied on disk. A companion publication to be released by the University of New Mexico Press, and an independent film about Pie Town (Pie Lady of Pie Town, Kuby Girl Productions ) will be available with the exhibition.

Click to view the Pietown Revisited slideshow .