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IntroductionIntroduction by Jon Lewis

I first went to Delano in January, 1966, the 4th month of the Grape Strike, with Luis Valdez and Marshall Ganz. Thats pretty good company and with their introduction to Cesar and the picket captains, I felt accepted right away. I had thought to photograph for a week or two before starting grad school at San Francisco State. I ended up staying for 8 months, and returned the next summer and fall. Life can be like that.

I learned enough offset printing to produce a book of photographs as my masters thesis, and as the G.I. Bill had been reinstated, I hung around campus long enough to make a film in Spanish from still photographs. I had amassed some 70 units before I graduated, so while I was and am an amateur photographer, I was very much the professional student.

I had hoped to teach photography and graphics at the college level, but as that never happened there was always a job to be had in the printing trades. So I punched a time clock for most of the past 38 years, making a living as ditto device rather than creator. But those paid vacations allowed me to see a considerable part of the world, until signing up for social security last year. With the freed-up time I was able to take the 16mm to DVD, and am currently making prints from those negatives of so long ago, some that have never been enlarged before. Maybe LeRoy will continue to post them to his Website as the months progress.

On behalf of all the photographers who passed through the movement, I must thank Jim Holland for making all those circular picket signs painted red and black. As props and framing devices they turned many an ordinary photograph into a stronger image.

As to what we were doing out in those fields sweating under that sun, it hasnt been better said than by Dorothea Lange: We, in our work, can speak more than about our subjects we can speak for them. We can more than speak of our subjects we can speak with them. They, given tongue, will be able to speak with and for us.

It was a great privilege to have been able to photograph strong men and women standing. Im proud to have stood with them.


(Photo captions provided by LeRoy Chatfield)
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