The Depression in color


I absolutely love this collection of photos, taken by the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information between 1939 and 1943. The shots taken prior to 1941, especially, are incredibly jarring—familiar images of poverty stricken farm families straight from your high school history textbook, suddenly rendered "real" and emotionally resonant by the addition of color film.

I'm very fond of the shot posted above, partially because it's just a great portrait, but also because I recognize that dress and that apron. My Great-Grandma, Rosella Duncan, owned strikingly similar outfits and was still wearing them when I was a teenager in the 1990s. It's the sort of recognizable, relatable detail that gets lost if you were to look at the same image in black and white.

Other particularly striking shots in the series:

Denver Post Photo Blogs: Captured: American in Color 1939-1943