As a lot of you know I have been in the photo industry years and years and years. I was bitten by the photo bug back in 8th grade (1975ish?) So I always knew that I wanted to get a degree in photography and did so – earning a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1984. Part of the great degree program at RIT was “The History of Photography” – a year-long look at the great works of photographers from the early start to current day trends. One of the sections that stayed with me to this day was the work of the Farm Services Administration (FSA) during the Great Depression of the 1930′s and even later work in the 40′s. Initially created in 1935 as part of The New Deal, it’s mission was to combat rural poverty in America. (see a great Wikipedia article here)
It’s legacy was the use of photography to document the conditions they saw – to tell a story in pictures. Under the direction of Roy Stryker, the photographers and writers he hired produced a body of work that is both captivating and haunting. Of the surviving 164,000 images, some of my favorites are below:
What we as scrapbookers can learn is the power of a story – of our memory – encased in a simple photograph.
Now another cool part ( and what motivated me to write this post because I didn’t know about it) was the photographers also did color images. Color photography was commercialized by Kodak in approximately 1938 but was not really a common thing until the 1960′s. So these images were “cutting edge” technology of their time! What I love best is the color palette of these early images:
While some stories need more than one picture some can be so striking and evocative that the one stands alone. I just hope a few of my thousands of photos are this good. Which are your favorite?