I was pleased to be asked to contribute to a special issue of Life Magazine titled "A Story of America in 100 Photographs." I wrote on such diverse topics as Shirley Temple, the 1936 drought, Jackie Robinson, Elvis, Nixon in China, and about 20 others. The issue will be available on newsstands soon. I loved working on this project, and exploring these moments in history. Most were big, but one was small.
This picture appears on the back cover of the issue, and it has a curious background. The image of two boys carrying homemade fishing poles in rural Texas could not be more bucolic. But it was shot in the course of reporting on a 1952 story about mesquite—and how to kill it. The story reads like an advertorial for a new chemical spray that would allow Texas ranchers tame mesquite and thus make it easier to herd of cattle. The boys are walking a road lined with mesquite, and their poles are mesquite branches.
It's all about to come to an end, boys.