A City Submerged
In 1956, Pirkle Jones got a call from Life Magazine for a photo assignment like no other. He was living in the Bay Area, having created seminal photographs of the Black Panthers and other political figures and organizations. But this project offered him something quite different than anything he had done before. The farm town of Monticello, California, near wine country, slightly north east of San Francisco, would soon be submerged under Lake Berryessa and vanish from the face of the earth. All the people that lived in the town would have to leave and the tangible objects of their memories would disappear as well. For the Lake Berryessa Project, Jones joined his hero, the photojournalist Dorothea Lange, to document Monticello's final year in a series of photographs called Death of a Valley. In it, we see dwellings, workers, stores and stations that will never be seen again. Pirkle Jones shares his memories of the series Death of a Valley.