San Francisco

Ernest Lowe

de Young Museum

Don't Cry For Me Babey at the de Young Museum is a profound, sympathetic story of the lives of the agricultural workers of the San Joaquin Valley. Ernest Lowe made the photographs over a six-year period, from the spring of 1960 to the spring of 1966, and his photographs show a way of life that has gained little in dignity and security since Steinbeck described it in The Grapes of Wrath in 1939. Many of the workers are still migratory. They follow the crops, picking cherries or apricots, sacking onions, pruning grapevines, and many of them live in ramshackle cabins or in dusty campsites beside their cars.

“Don’t cry for me babey” was scrawled in spray paint on the back of an old car, and Lowe takes it for his text, a motto for people who are poor but strong, shabby but proud. Lowe is no street corner realist. He has followed the people into their homes to show the symbols of their lives,

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