Wednesday, April 26, 2017

new book! - "extraordinary portraits of farmworkers, their families and communities"

In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte

Photographs and text by David Bacon
University of California Press / Colegio de la Frontera Norte

Publication date:  May 1, 2017
302 photographs, 450pp, 9”x9”
paperback, $34.95

order the book on the UC Press website:
use source code  16M4197  at checkout
receive a 30% discount

Website for ordering the book from COLEF in Mexico coming soon!

In the Fields of the North is an intensive look at farm workers, documenting work life, living conditions, culture and migration through over 300 photographs and many narratives of workers themselves, in both English and Spanish. The conditions of farm workers have deteriorated greatly since the 1970s and 80s. At the same time, over half of the farm workers of today come from towns in Mexico where people speak indigenous languages like Mixteco and Triqui. In the Fields of the North shows that these conditions are provoking a new wave of organizing efforts. It does so visually, and in the words of farm workers themselves.

En los campos del norte es una mirada profunda a los trabajadores agrícolas, que documenta la vida laboral, las condiciones de vida, la cultura y la migración a través de más de 300 fotografías, y de narraciones de los propios trabajadores, tanto en inglés como en español. Las condiciones de los trabajadores agrícolas se han deteriorado mucho desde la década de 1970 y 1980. A la par de ello, más de la mitad de los trabajadores agrí- colas provienen actualmente de pueblos de México donde la gente habla lenguas indígenas como el mixteco y el triqui. A través de fotografías y testimonios, En los campos del norte demuestra que estas condiciones es- tán generando una nueva ola de esfuerzos organizativos. El libro logra mostrarlo visualmente, y con las palabras de los propios trabajadores agrícolas.

“David Bacon renews and updates the progressive documentary tradition with these extraordinary, carefully chosen portraits of farmworkers, their families and communities.”

Mike Davis, distinguished professor, sociologist and urban theorist, University of California, Riverside

“David Bacon renueva y actualiza la tradición documental progresista con estos extraordinarios retratos cuidadosamente escogidos de los trabajadores agrícolas, sus familias y sus comunidades”.

Mike Davis, profesor distinguido, sociólogo y teórico urbano. Universidad de California, Riverside

“David Bacon allows us to be there. Inside the temporary ‘homes’ created in cabins standing in the middle of nowhere. Homes that often become permanent by filling them with the workers’ hope.”

Ana Luisa Anza, Editor and Managing Editor, Cuartoscuro

“Bacon nos permite estar presentes, de primera mano. Ahí están, en barracas construidas en medio de la nada, los “hogares” temporales que, de tanta esperanza, muchas veces se convierten en permanentes”.

Ana Luisa Anza, Editora y Coordinadora editorial, Cuartoscuro


Photoessay by David Bacon
Gastronomica, Spring 2017

I do the cooking in my house. To me, it's a way I show my love for the people in my life. I know I'm not the only person like that. When I read Amy Tan's novel, The Joy Luck Club, the sections when the mothers tell their daughters about the importance of the best quality food resonated with me.

At the Friday farmers' market in Oakland, California, I can see those mothers in front of the stalls, bargaining over the produce. Oakland is a working-class city across the bay from San Francisco, and like many California cities, it has an historic Chinese and Asian American community-a Chinatown. Being right next to Chinatown makes the Oakland farmers' market unique.

If you go up to the farmers' markets in Berkeley (next door to Oakland) or over to San Francisco, these days you'll find a booth or two with Asian vegetables. Asian cooking is healthy and popular. But because Berkeley and San Francisco are much more affluent communities, stalls at farmers' markets often target more middle-class and even upper-middle-class shoppers.

At the Oakland market the Asian stalls are the majority. If you come early, you can see the moms of Chinatown around the stall that has the best baby bok choy or lemongrass. Six or seven women crowd together, examining carefully the cauliflower with the long spindly stalks that you'll never see in a supermarket. Others check the persimmons, or the young ginger with the root still on the green stem, or the long Napa cabbage.

A lot of the food is grown by Hmong farmers near Fresno in California's San Joaquin Valley. Women in other stalls are Filipinas from Stockton, or Mexican ladies from Kingsburg- the San Joaquin Valley meeting the Oakland 'hood.
I appreciate picky shoppers, and the customers at the Friday market are some of the pickiest. They're not just those Chinese moms. The market attracts immigrants from many countries. You can hear a dozen languages in the people filling its four blocks.

Some go first to the market, and then to the little stores on Eighth Street that specialize in the foods from back home-manioc flour for those from Ghana, dried codfish or imported jars of jerk seasoning for the Jamaicans. Taylor's just inside the Swan's Market building has boudin and cajun sausage for those who like to remember Louisiana, and longanisa for the ones who want garlic rice and longsilog for breakfast.

African Americans, Latinos, white folks-they're all there. The large food vocabulary of the fruits and vegetables-the expression of love in what you cook-is one thing that brings people out. But another is the price. Competing with the markets in Chinatown just two blocks away, there's a limit on what the stalls can charge, especially the ones with the Asian vegetables. That definitely makes it a working-class farmers' market. If you shop at the Berkeley farmers' market the day afterward, the same tomato might cost you double.

But that's not the first thing on my mind. It's what am I making for dinner this week? What is it going to say?

A Mexican farmer from Kingsburg, in the San Joaquin Valley, bargains with Chinese mothers over the price of walnuts.

Buying a bunch of Thai or Japanese chiles.

Picking out the best persimmons.

 This variety of cauliflower is very popular among Chinese families at the farmers market.

 An African immigrant couple looks over the Japanese eggplants.

 Picking the best lemons and pomegranates.

 Sorting through the bin of long beans.

 By midmorning, not much is left of the pear tomatoes and Jerusalem artichokes.

 Sorting through the ground nuts.

 At the intersection of Clay and Ninth, in the middle of the market, older people rest with their shopping carts.

 Looking like you don't like what you see can be a bargaining tactic.

 A stall owner tries to keep her cauliflower from spilling out of the bin.

 Eating is what the market is all about.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Photographs by David Bacon

Full sets of photos:

SALINAS, CA- 2APRIL17 - Celebrating the birthday of Cesar Chavez, farm workers marched through the streets of Salinas to show their opposition to the anti-immigrant and anti-worker policies of President Donald Trump.  The Salinas march was one of several organized in rural towns throughout California by the United Farm Workers.

SAN JOSE, CA - 9APRIL17 - Workers at AT&T occupied one of the busiest intersections of Silicon Valley to protest the unwillingness of the company to agree to a new union contract.  Members of Communications Workers of America held picket signs, marched and rallied in front of the AT&T office in south San Jose.

Was zwischen den USA und Mexiko schon seit langem existiert
Die Traurigkeit der Grenzmauer
Photoessay von David Bacon
Neue Rheinische Zeitung 14 April, 2017