Monday, August 16, 2010

America In Color

I remember a college interview I had in which I was asked to say my favorite book. I'd just read a collection of poetry from the 1930's and it was the first time I'd become obsessed with an era. I was so intrigued by the book, and so nervous at the interview, that I not only mentioned it as a favorite, but went on to explain the dustbowl to the college admissions councilor. Since it was the first I'd ever heard of it, I naturally assumed he had never heard of it either. (It's like those moments where, somehow you make it to adulthood without realizing your childhood presumption that there's a little man in the traffic light directing traffic, or everyone that works at JoAnn Fabrics is named JoAnn...might be naive.)
So... needless to say, I went to a different college. I also discovered Americana & folk music and started painting vintage inspired housewives... And when my friend Angie sent me a link to this new collection of COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY from depression era (recently found - in slide form- and preserved & printed in a book), I nearly exploded. While I won't explain the dustbowl to YOU (you can look it up on wikipedia, after all), I will say that you MUST check this collection out.
Seeing things in color makes them more alive, the beautiful patterns, the hand painted shop signs, the fruit & dirt & wood. It almost seems like it must be scenes from a modern movie depicting that era, instead of real life. But there are the military planes, the women working in men's jobs for the first time. There are the dugouts & shantys and stoic children. People making everything themselves from food to clothing to architecture and having a sense of personal survival skills far more advanced than what I fear we'd have today. An inspiration far broader than a college education, you might say.

Check out the collection HERE.
The book is titled "Bound for Glory; America in Color 1939-43"


Rachel Lee said...

Hi Rachel -- If you haven't seen it yet, check out the Library of Congress on Flickr. Here's a link to their 1930s and 1940s set:

Some of the image are AMAZING. Most of them, in fact. =)

(In fact I think some of these images are in the Flickr set.)

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