23 January 2008

The 30's and 40's in Color

I came across the Library of Congress's Flickr account today. I was already aware of their significant online collections, but I was astounded at the quality of pictures they have posted on Flickr. They have two collections: News in the 1910s and 1930s and 1940s in color. The color photographs are a beautiful melding of historical content, rich color, and the photographic arts. Color photography was fairly rare during that period, and these offer a stunning mirror of that lost time. The photographers appear to have been more than snapshot takers; many of the pictures rise to the level of art.

The below woman aircraft worker (1942) speaks for itself:

The above photograph is one of my favorites. It is At the Vermont State Fair1941 by Jack Delano. From the matching sets of dresses to the boy in the middle who seems to need to go the bathroom, it is a lovely vignette. I find it interesting that everyone in the family is looking in a different direction as though trying to figure out where to go first, or perhaps waiting for dad and no one notices the photographer. Is the lady in black pregnant with the eighth?

I encourage you to go there, but be warned that there are over 3,000 photographs and you may spend more time there than you intended.


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