03. January 2006 · Comments Off on For the photo and history buffs amongst us · Categories: Domestic, General, History

There’s a very cool photographic exhibit at the Library of Congress, portions of which are available online.

From 1935 to 1944, the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) employed about a dozen professional photographers to wander the country and take pictures. What makes this collection notable is that the photographers were using the new KodaChrome slide film, as well as their standard black and white.

From the exhibit overview page:

The original goal of the government project was to record through documentary photographs the ravages of the Depression on America’s rural population and were intended to spur Congress and the American public to support government relief efforts. Over the years, with an improved economy, increased industrialization, and the onset of World War II, the photographs increasingly focused on an America that was productive, beautiful, and determined. The photographs originally intended to have a narrow focus developed into a noteworthy broader national record.

The LOC has put 70 of these color photos into an online exhibit for those of us who aren’t near the actual exhibit in DC. Those 70 photos are awesome enough, although titles of some pieces most likely do not reflect the photographer’s original labeling of the work (or did we use the term “African-American” in the late 1930s?). They run the gamut from American Gothic type shots to Rosie the Riveter, and then some.

And for those of us (like me) who think 70 pics just whet our appetite, the entire collection of over 171K black/white and color photographs (about 1600 color ones, I think) are also available for viewing online.

You can even view the uncompressed TIFF version of the images, if you have the bandwidth to spare.

This is one of my favorites, thus far. It’s different from most of the other “Rosie the Riveters” I’ve seen before.

This pic of a welder is another one I really like.

Give yourselves a visual treat. As a bare minimum, check out the 70 photo exhibit. It’s pretty impressive.

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