Photograph is of a candid moment between Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lyman who were Polish tobacco farmers near Windsor Locks, Connecticut in September 1940.
Flickr user Carl_205 worked at the Library of Congress in the early 1980s and talked with photographer Jack Delano about some of his photographs. He wrote the following about this photograph:
This photograph is part of a group of pictures made in Connecticut between 1937 and 1941 by Farm Security Administration photographers Jack Delano, John Collier, Russell Lee, Edwin Locke, and Marion Post Wolcott. Evidently the agency had offered some agricultural support programs in the region. The photographers’ captions suggest that they were sent to portray three overlapping groups: part-time farmers, ethnic farmers, and tobacco farmers. The caption for this photograph, made in a community north of Hartford, reads “Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Lyman, Polish tobacco farmer and FSA client.”
The picture shows a high degree of camera consciousness on the part of the subjects, and can be seen as a collaboration between photographer Jack Delano and the Lymans. The Lymans seem to have assumed the customary pose for a snapshot: standing side by side and facing the camera. Delano, however, does not shoot them head on, but shoots from a low angle to one side. And unlike a snapshot’s eye contact and smile, this picture has been made at a moment of high laughter and diverted gaze. Delano explains that he made the couple laugh by telling Mr. Lyman that his pants were falling down. “The thought of such a catastrophe,” Delano writes, “apparently made them break up [laugh].”