Man eating corn on the cob at the Post Office, Arrey, New Mexico
The photographer is an accomplished storyteller, working in the tradition of black and white documentary photography pioneered by Swiss-born Robert Frank in 1958’s “The Americans,” which was praised by the New York Times at the time of Frank’s death for its “cinematic” but “off-kilter” and “grainy” portrait of his adopted country.
The details in this image enrich the quirky narrative of a older man relishing an ear of corn. From his choice of a community gathering place as a dining spot offering the possibility of conviviality to the stump on which he sits, his University of Texas ballcap and his walker parked around the corner, the viewer gleans telling biographical information.
Other details hint at the image’s southwestern setting, from the obvious (the low mountain range and modest white church steeple in the background) to the nuanced (the pieces of cardboard swept into the frame by the wind and the intense, dark shadows under the eaves and scouring light on the side of the building).
Taken earlier this month, this captivating photograph seems especially resonate this Thanksgiving week, when so many Americans will celebrate the bounty of the season in unusual solitude, without family and friends.
—Commentary by Tom Hinson, editor, Photograph of the Week
Editor’s Note: Click on the photograph to view it in a light box for even greater clarity.