Monday, August 2, 2010

Captured: America in Color from 1939-1945

A crossroads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station in the cotton plantation area. Melrose, Louisiana, 1940; photograph by Marion Post Walcott

Thanks to Mary, a reader from Massachusetts, for suggesting the photography exhibit Captured: America in Color from 1939-1945. The Denver Post's Photo Blog recently offered seventy large-scale reproductions on their site, and they are stunning both as historical documents and as works of art.

We've written before on the work of the Farm Security Administration, and we've also previously discussed the Library of Congress American Memory archives--an inexhaustible source for all of the government-sponsored photography taken during this period. These particular photographs, however, were taken later than the majority of the FSA's work, and constitute only 1,600 images compared to the 164,000 black and white photographs; browsing through each, one can get the sense of rural America changing with the new technological and political realities of a new war. This segment of the archive is entitled America from the Great Depression to World War II: Color Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1939-1945visit here for a list, with links and biographies, of the impressive body of staff members (Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and more) who undertook this important work.

The archive is very easy to search and browse through, so if you see any images in the Denver Post's selection you particularly like, you can head to the above site and see all prints from the same shoot. There are so many stunning images here, but we'll include a few more below:

Boy near Cincinnati, Ohio;  John Vachon

Spreading fertilizer from a 4-mule team wagon, Georgia,  1940:  Marion Post Wolcott

School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940: Russell Lee

Japanese-American camp, war emergency relocation, Tule Lake, CA, 1942 or 1943; Russell Lee

 Japanese-American camp, war-emergency evacuation, Tule Lake, CA [transplanting celery], 1942 or 1943; Russell Lee

Farm auction, Derby, CT, 1940; Jack Delano