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Friday, August 6, 2010

In Living Color

Just take a moment to drink in this photo.

It needs almost no words; the light and composition are just that lovely.

But it will probably amaze you, as it did me, to find out that this photo was taken in 1940. Here's its caption and credit:
"Boys fishing in a bayou. Schriever, Louisiana, June 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Marion Post Wolcott. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress"
It is one of a series of color slides that were taken between 1939 and 1943 by Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information photographers. They document Depression and early wartime America--from rural workers to real Rosie the Riviters--in vivid color.

"Woman is working on a "Vengeance" dive bomber Tennessee, February 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress"
It is so strange and haunting to see images like the iconic ones by Dorothea Lange, but in bright color. There were moments scrolling through the series that I felt like I was looking at photos from a movie set in the 1940s. But these are real. Haunting. Beautiful, even despite their disorienting color. For the whole, astonishing set, look here.


E... said...

Yes! Several years ago, we found a bunch of my great-grandparents' slides and had them made as prints. It was SO strange to see that world (probably the 40s) in color. Some gorgeous shots of them harvesting gladiolous in this field where they grew them for florists. I was so affected by it I wrote a poem about it.

BusyDad said...

WOW. Never in a million years would I think simply seeing things in full color would make such a difference. When you see B&W, you automatically dissociate yourself from it. But these made me really feel a connection to them, like they're just you and me, but a few years back. Thanks for sharing!

texasholly said...

Love that first photo...so cool.


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