Delicate and nostalgic, the Ashley Lebedev Dustbowl is a marvelous photographic collection of one of the most bitter and saddest periods in North American and Canadian history: the Dust Bowl (1930s-40s). This artistic homage gives voice and representation to an era where destructive dust storms erased the lives of so many people in the prairie lands.
Compared to some of the artist''s previous works, Dustbowl feels more real and closer to reality. Although there is still a sense of extreme beauty and sweetness in some of her shots, Lebedev manages to communicate the struggle of the people and their helplessness. She explains, "I want this collection to maintain complete authenticity in recreating what those brave people (and that era) went through, and so I have consciously (before, during, after planning) every shoot, said to myself: 'Ashley, don't do the most beautiful. Do the most authentic.'" The result is mesmerizing, as each black and white photograph exudes tender drops of history, grace and true sadness.
Elements such as dust, light and spontaneity recreate a tragic era, allowing the audience to feel to closer to the subjects, as if viewing an old photo album found in a grandparent's attic.
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