A PRESCRIPTION FOR WATCHING THE WEB
The Library of Congress
Documenting America from the Great Depression to World War II
“The images in the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information Collection are among the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. Created by a group of U.S. government photographers, the images show Americans in every part of the nation. In the early years, the project emphasized rural life and the negative impact of the Great Depression, farm mechanization, and the Dust Bowl. In later years, the photographers turned their attention to the mobilization effort for World War II. The core of the collection consists of about 164,000 black-and-white photographs. This release provides access to over 160,000 of these images; future additions will expand the black-and-white offering. The FSA-OWI photographers also produced about 1600 color photographs during the latter days of the project. ”
“The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. The goal of the Library’s National Digital Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning. ”
“The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers. ”
Visiting this site should be an inspiration as well as a lesson in documentary photography. Many great photographers of the 1930’s era worked for the United States Government. Photographers like Walker Evans and Ansel Adams are among those represented. And anyone with a knowledge of photographic history will recognize “Migrant Mother.” And, if you wish, download a high resolution file and print your own personal copy of this photograph or of many others.
CHARLES HEISTERKAMP, III, M.D., PHOTOGRAPHER