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Joe Schwartz"Can‘t we all get along?" asked Rodney King. The answer is that we can. I have lived and photographed that answer for almost 72 years. From the "housing projects" in Brooklyn, to the activism of the Photo League, to combat photography in World War II, to the struggles of the famous and non-famous for equal rights, to the daily lives of folks in our world, to the faces of children, my camera shows people of all colors and backgrounds weaving their lives together into a tapestry of friendship and mutual support.
Folk Photography - Poems I've Never Written
The children prove it: racism and bigotry are not innate. Adults can retain this awareness when not poisoned with the divisiveness sown by those who think the perpetuation of prejudice and injustice serve their self-interest.
My photography dissolves stereotypes. It reveals have-nots with innate nobility, and famous people letting their hair down with friends. Children don‘t have to be dismissed as "cute." They can be revealed as complex and distinctive human beings worthy of respect and attentiveness as well as love.
The heroism of underpaid working people who struggle to support their families, the wisdom of grandparents, and the everyday neighborliness of regular folks are the real news, the real foundation we can build on, despite the media emphasis on conflict and depravity. We need to discover our real heritage as builders of communities, weavers of a fabric of caring.
Recently, I was able to accomplish a lifelong dream: to assemble the book Folk Photography: Poems I‘ve Never Written, featuring some of my best work from seven decades from the 1930‘s through the 1990‘s. It is my hope that my work will reach wider distribution, I will accept on behalf of today‘s children, the beautiful children of all colors, for whom my images can be encouragement that they have the power, and the history behind them, to grow a world in which bigotry and exploitation are finally seen as the obsolete superstitions of a less enlightened age, and that we can indeed all get along.
Joe Schwartz (October 2006)
[Those wishing to purchase the book Folk Photography: Poems I‘ve Never Written can contact Joe on 1-805-466-0661 - USA]