Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, October 28, 2005

Grandad, As He Was 

Grand Grocery Company, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1942, John Vachon

From Michael Blowhard of 2Blowhards, who remarks:
If you're like me, many of the images you have in
your brain of the Great Depression come from the
Farm Security Administration, and all of them are in
black and white. So The Library of Congress' new
show is startling, and literally an eye-opener: a
collection of color photos of that era from the FSA.
The website includes a terrific online exhibition.
Amazing how much more immediate color often
makes photographs, isn't it?

I can look at old pictures and old film footage all day long. I remarked recently that I'm not inclined to look back and reflect on my life, but other peoples' lives are endlessly fascinating to me.

I think one reason these pictures are so startling is that color home photography didn't really become widespread until a decade after the shots in this collection (1941-1945). I have boxes and boxes and books and albums of pictures of my family going back to the beginning of the 20th century and after hundreds of hours of looking at them it's almost inevitable that, on some level, I think of the years before 1950 as black and white. That's seems comforting, or at least appropriate, since the vast majority of the people in those pictures are dead.

In fifty years the 7 bazzigabyte digital images of today will seem equally flat, removed and interred along side the holographic bio-implant projectors of the day.

Or whatever. But the point of this collection of color images from the 1940s is that it removes the remove.

Also from 2Blowhards a completely different photographic experience here.

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