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Absolutely stunning.

14 Rare Color Photos From the FSA-OWI

Even today, many documentary photographers will tell you they are influenced by the works of the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s and 40s. Under the direction of Roy Emerson Stryker, the FSA sent photographers to document the plight of the rural farmer during the Great Depression and the progress of New Deal programs. When the U.S. entered World War II, the photography program continued under the Office of War Information (OWI).

The best-known FSA photographs are in black and white. Less commonly seen are the color photos by FSA and OWI photographers, shot between 1939 and 1945. Below we present a selection from the works Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI

Photo by John Vachon. Boy near Cincinnati, Ohio, 1942 or 1943.

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Crane operator at the TVA’s Douglas Dam, Tennessee, 1942.

Photo by Russell Lee. Barbeque dinner at the Pie Town, New Mexico Fair, 1940.

Photo by Marjory Collins. A “camouflage class” at New York University, where men and women are preparing for jobs in the Army or in industry by making models from aerial photographs and work out camouflage schemes, 1943.

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Carpenter at work on Douglas Dam, Tennessee, a Tennessee Valley Authority project, 1942.

Photo by John Vachon. Workers leaving Pennsylvania shipyards, Beaumont, Texas, 1943.

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. Woman machinist, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, California, 1942.

Photo by Russell Lee. Jack Whinery and his family, homesteaders, Pie Town, New Mexico, 1940.

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer. A member of a construction crew building a new 33,000-volt electric power line into Fort Knox, Kentucky, 1942.

Photo by Jack Delano. James Lynch, a roundhouse worker for the Chicago and North Western Railway Company , Proviso Yard, Chicago, 1942.

Photo by Jack Delano. Sharecroppers chop cotton on rented land near White Plains, Greene County, Georgia, 1941.

Photo by Jack Delano. Vermont state fair, Rutland, 1941.

Photo by John Vachon. Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid inoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas, 1943.

Photo by Arthur Rothstein. An instructor explains the operation of a parachute to student pilots, Meacham Field, Fort Worth, Texas, 1942.

All photos taken directly from the site and reproduced here in no particular order.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 15th, 2010 10:53 am (UTC)
These are stunning--thanks so much for sharing! Plus, they get me in the right mindset--I'm off to go and teach my discussion classes in a bit, and today, we're covering the Great Depression.
Oct. 15th, 2010 10:55 am (UTC)
Well, then, they're timely and topical. Who'd'a thunk it?
Oct. 15th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
Amazing..I see at least one macro in the group. Really stunning find!
Oct. 15th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
I was seriously dazzled by these. And I want James Lynch's glasses, dammit.
Oct. 15th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
Also notice the one where the men are leaving the Texas factory all the blacks are on the right side of the photo.

always with the segregation, that silly Texas was!
Oct. 15th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
Oh shi-! I didn't notice that! To be honest, most of America was "with the segregation" though, wasn't it? Them was some bad times.
Oct. 15th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
I don't know why but it's kind of blowing my mind that these are from back then. I've always seen pictures from my family and historical archives where it was black and white (at best) only.

Of course the world was in just as much color but it makes it feel like a movie to me.

I love the Pie Town, carpenter (rawr, turn that crank), and Douglas Aircraft shots the best.

Great find!
Oct. 15th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean!

The depth of color on some of these is just awesome. And to think that they didn't have Photoshop back then. (Of course, I don't know that these haven't been enhanced in since then...)
Oct. 15th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
That's true, they could have had the Disney DVD "digitally enhanced" touch applied ^_^

Still, some really beautiful images. All of these characters are so relatable.
Oct. 15th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
And it's like the Necrodogicon. You know that it's practically guaranteed that all of them are dead.
Oct. 15th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
These are absolutely -gorgeous-. Thank you so, so much for sharing them. :)
Oct. 15th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
You are absolutely welcome. I couldn't NOT share them. I found them stunning as my title stated.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )