Photos of 1970s American culture through an environmental lens


NewImageIn 1971, the US government's Environmental Protection Agency sponsored a photography project called DOCUMERICA to capture on film the impact of pollution, waste, and environmental dangers on American life. The result is a stunning portrait of 1970s American culture. A selection of those images — more than 20,000 in total — is now on view at the National Archives in Washington DC. They've also released an exhibition catalog with text by the EPA's first director, Bill Ruckelshaus, who was in charge during the DOCUMERICA project.

Above: "Children play in yard of Ruston home, while Tacoma smelter stack showers area with arsenic and lead residue" (Gene Daniels, Ruston, Washington, August 1972). Right: "Young woman watches as her car goes through testing at an auto emission inspection station in Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio" (Lyntha Scott Eiler, Cincinnati, OH, September 1975).

"16 Photographs That Capture the Best and Worst of 1970s America" (Smithsonian)

Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project (National Archives)

"Searching for the Seventies: The DOCUMERICA Photography Project" (Amazon)