Today is World Photo Day and it’s as good excuse as any to look at amazing pics of our country’s history. The Great Depression is all but forgotten as most of those who lived through are leaving us. It’s best remembered through the pictures that came out of the Farm Security Administration most of them were black and white but a small number of them were shot in color. Peter Walther’s new book, New Deal Photography: USA 1935-1943, which Taschen was just published last month.
Many photographers contributed to the FSA’s documentary photography program, but only a few shot with Kodachrome color film which was introduced in 1935. Developing it was a complicated and expensive process and it was also difficult to capture fast-moving subjects with it. Walther said, there was a “reservation regarding color photography” among artistic and documentary image-makers at the time,
“Walker Evans has characterized color photography as ‘garish and vulgar,’ although he took color photos as early as 1946. Color photography was not considered an art medium, but a medium of advertising and commerce.
The people in the photos could be our own grandparents. You can see the color of the clothes they wear. All of this is important information about daily life at the time.“