Mr. Countway Takes the Job, November 1940
Western Auto Supply, September 1939
The Motor Coach Way July 1940

Mike Benedum, Wildcatter I December 1940

Mike Benedum, Wildcatter II January 1941
Allis Chalmers

Trouble in Automobile Row November 1941

California's Cotton Rush 19491938
First National Bank

The Fuller Brush Man October 1938

Merchandisers of Securities June 1941
It's Heaven, It's Paradise (Red Hook) April 1940

A Presbyterian Church

A Quick Lunch in California July 1937
The Used Car

William Morris Talent Agency Sept 1938

Defence Workers 1940


Main Street (single, date unknown)

Record Retailing New York 1940

Portrait of Mr Merill with giant map behind him. (with links to Hansel Mieth)



Otto Hagel (1909-1973) and Hansel (Johanna) Mieth (1909-1998) were both born in Fellbach, Germany in 1909. They came to America in 1928 in pursuit of the America described by Jack London. They moved to Santa Rosa California in 1941 having married the previous year and worked as labourers in the fields.They photographed longshoremen on strike Men and Ships: A Pictorial of the Maritime Industry (1937) and migrant workers.

Hansel worked on Government Art projects (starting with the Sewing initiative) , and then was approached by the fledgling LIFE magazine.During this time Otto worked "as a house painter, window washer and things like that. I was a free spirit. Ha ha." (Interview with Hansel Mieth)

Hagel continued to retain his German citizenship, risking arrest at the start of the war. Hagel worked building the ranch during the war while Mieth did freelance commissions for a wide range of publications. They both visited and recorded Heart Mountain, an internment camp for Japanese/Americans.

Otto and Hansel both worked freelance for Time, Life and Fortune, and their imagery became synonymous with photographic studies of poverty, labour rights and the lives of workers. Hagel was blacklisted in the Macarthy days. In the mid thirties, imagery in magazines changed in parallel to the availability of the new cameras. In an interview Otto described " the new school which came into popularity with the Leica, the 35mm camera, and which could catch things spontaneous, candid, a section of life. And this was pushing the tripod aside. Film was slow at the time. It was difficult to do these things and everybody was trying to push the frontier a little farther back and do more impossible things. Photographs in the evenings, photographs in dimly lit rooms."(see Bus Route above)

Hagel's Kodakchrome photograph of artificial flowers at Kresge's Dime Store was published by FORTUNE in 1940.

photograph by Peter Stackpole 1939