Dust Storm, Cimarron County, Oklahoma

1936, printed 1980s
Silver Gelatin Photograph

Rothstein’s signature and edition notation 197/300, in pencil, and the Falk Leeds Gallery blind stamp, on recto


“The farmer and his eldest son are pressing forward energetically into the wind, while the younger child- struggling to keep up- shields his eyes to protect them from the dust. The child’s gesture is the key to this scene, for it makes sense of the abraded foreground and the bleak, dust-filled sky. Without that defensive gesture, the whole picture would amount to little more than a fragment of derelict countryside. Rothstein asks his audience not to stand back and analyze but to imagine in their bodies what it might actually feel like to live in such a pitiless landscape. The photographer himself suffered eye damage due to exposure to the dust of Oklahoma, an area badly affected by drought and dust storms. This picture, taken by Rothstein for the Resettlement Administration (an American government agency set up to cope with the impact of the Depression and alter known as the Farm Security Administration), became an American icon and one of the great motifs of the 1930s.” – The Photography Book, Phaidon Press