Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Beauty

There's an entire era of color photographs that over time have color-shifted toward red and purple. Some error in the chemical formulas at Kodak means that most memories of that era have a magenta cast. But that's just one aspect of this picture, which intrigues me as a portrait of adolescent girls, in tiaras and tutus and theatrical makeup, still dreaming of princes, and the folk art quality of the too-bright light, the not quite graceful poses, the girl at upper left who can't control her joy - the whole unknown backstory of ballet class at Miss Patsy's School of Dance and the spring recital. For all its artifice, it's an honest American portrait.

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