True 20x200 story: aside from being one of our favorite collaborators since our earliest days, Jason Polan is also one of my very bestie of best friends. (I helped him move a few months back. This is seriously serious.) Mutually enjoyed activities include, but are not limited to: Berkshires road trips, being awkward at parties, drinking iced coffee, wandering around downtown, eating hamburgers and talking about art. As for those last two items: Jason has excellent taste in burgers and art, so naturally he loves this new Dorothea Lange edition as much as I do. Read on for more about why. –Jen Bekman
Georgia road sign by Dorothea Lange
8"x8" ($24) | 11"x11" ($60) | 16"x16" ($240) | 20"x20" ($600)
I have been looking at this picture two or three times a day for the past week or so. Jen sent it to me a bit ago in an email because she knew I would love it. Not just because I love trees and grass and driving and milk and signs and handwriting and arrows and roads, but because I have probably eaten more hamburgers than most people should (in five lifetimes). Maybe she was trying to tell me something (eat fewer cheeseburgers) in a subtle way?
The R and S are my favorites. By then, the painter really got the rhythm down with that thin brush and white house paint. The word fits so nicely. I wonder what it says on the other side of that arrow in the top right corner of the picture. I think it says, LOOK AT THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT PERFECT SIGN RIGHT DOWN THERE. ALSO TURN AROUND AND GO BACK TO THAT RESTAURANT AND EAT MORE HAMBUGLARS AND DRINK MORE COKES.
Do you think there were snakes in that tall grass? Do you think Dorothea Lange was thinking about them right before she took this picture? Was it windy out? I bet it was. I bet she was hungry while she was working on getting the picture and scared of poisonous snakes but thought, “I will not eat until I get this picture.” She took slow steps and framed the sign just off center to the right to make sure she got a piece of the road in the shot, while keeping the letters exactly the size she wanted them. She also liked the tilt of that tall tree on the other side of the road and didn’t want it to hit too close to the left edge of the composition.
She actually said it out loud to herself right before getting the shot, “I will not eat until I get this picture."
She got it and knew it. She wasn’t scared or even thinking about snakes on her walk back to the road because she was so excited about the picture. She decided to leave the car where it was after loading the camera and walked down to the general store you can see there in the background. The burger she got—medium rare, with American cheese, three pickle slices (dill, cut with grooves), ketchup, and a shiny bun because the man grilling it turned it over on melted butter before serving it to make sure the cheese was holding things together, then placed it on the counter in front of her on a light green plate—was one of the best she ever had. She took the last sip of her coke right after the last bite of her burger.
This image is beautiful. You should buy this picture if you like it too.
With art for everyone,