The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

November 7, 2013

Photo exhibit explores critical periods in world history

NORMAN — Photographer Horace Bristol’s (1908-1997) name doesn’t have the ring of familiarity such as those of Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz. He was contemporaries with that famous trio and his work arguably should be just as well known.

The University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art will be making that case with a display of Bristol’s photos on exhibit Nov. 16 to May 18, 2014.

“Our exhibition is a survey of one of the most productive periods in Horace Bristol’s career from 1938 to 1948,” said Mark White, museum chief curator and interim director. “It was an important time for him as a photographer as well as one in world history.”

Images from Bristol’s “Grapes of Wrath” series will undoubtedly have an emotional impact on many Oklahomans. Although the photos were taken in a California migrant workers camp in 1938, it’s part of our national legacy that many of those folks had traveled there from the Sooner State. The shots were part of a joint journalistic project with author John Steinbeck that never came to fruition. The writer’s experiences in the camp later became the inspiration for his great American novel “The Grapes of Wrath” (1939).

White believes these photos from over a half-century ago still hold a tremendous amount of relevance for the modern world, noting the themes of economic insecurity, patriotism during wartime and increased exposure to other cultures.

“American interest in the 1930s, and especially the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, represent problems we still deal with,” he said. “Being able to show the ‘Grapes of Wrath’ series of photographs that inspired the novel is deeply interesting because it depicts where the story began and then where it wound up.”

Bristol’s pictures of real migrants are named for characters in Steinbeck’s novel. The photographic reality and author’s fiction are blurred into an American montage that holds genuine significance for us today.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
N-town stories
  • Roller Derby Dolled up destroyers bring the pain

    What do a teacher, lawyer and a bartender have in common?  They want to deliver hard hits, at speed, and have fun doing it....

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ads you will never see again

    OU journalism professor Fred Beard, author of “Humor in the Advertising Business: Theory, Practice, and Wit,” offered his take on a collection of ads taken from the archives of The Norman Transcript.

    July 12, 2014

  • Homecoming: Norman native Vince Gill returns for concert at Riverwind Casino

    Vince Gill was born in Norman in 1957. The country music star is coming back home for a show at Riverwind July 18. Tickets for the performance are sold out. “I do consider Norman home although I don’t consciously remember it because of ...

    July 7, 2014

  • Ogre the top: Sooner Theatre makes magic with ‘Shrek The Musical’

    Sooner Theatre’s Shrek the Musical may make a ‘believer’ out of theatre skeptics yet. Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film, Shrek the Musical will bring the hilarious story of an ogre, donkey and princess to the stage....

    July 7, 2014

  • ‘MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT’: Lyric Theatre brings British humor classic to the stage

    Killer rabbits and dancing nights are just a few peculiar things you can expect to see on stage from Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma's production of MONTY PYTHON'S SPAMALOT. Adapted from the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," this comedic ...

    July 7, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • It’s a hard knock life at the Sooner Theatre

    It’s a hard knock life at the Sooner Theatre during the upcoming production of “Annie.” Based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, the musical tells the charming story of the young orphan Annie in 1930s New York City as she searches ...

    June 13, 2014

  • Formed in stone

    According to Steve Westrop, University of Oklahoma geology and geophysics professor, 99.99 percent of all species that once inhabited the earth are now extinct. What they left behind are physical remains enshrined in stone. Often the ...

    June 13, 2014

  • Norman filmmakers screening at 2014 deadCENTER Film Festival

    Oklahoma City’s deadCENTER Film Festival began in the first year of the new century and has grown dramatically in those 14 years. It’s the Sooner state’s largest film festival....

    June 13, 2014

  • “Oil and Wood” exhibit features art masterpieces

    The works of two distinguished professors emerti of the OU School of Art & Art History are being exhibited during “Oil and Wood: George Bogart and Jim Henkle,” at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art through Sept. 14....

    June 13, 2014