Friday, June 14, 2013

America in Color

And speaking of old photographs...

"Bound for Glory: America in Color" was the name of the 2006 exhibit that displayed photographs of American life in the late 30s, early 40s. Taken by the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information and preserved today in the Library of Congress, these photographs are reproductions made from color slides - which gives them the distinction of being some of the only color images of the effects of the Depression on rural communities. 

These images are beautiful and painful - the resilience of the human spirit and the misery of extreme rural poverty are shown in full, brilliant color. 

Here are just a few of the images: 


You may view the rest of the photos here- they are captivating. 

Long before these photos were taken, Emily Dickinson wrote a poem acalled "There's a certain slant of light" that I think fits with these rare color photos of post-depression America, as communities struggled to emerge from the "scar" and "internal difference" of hard times...

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

What do you think of the photographs? What is your favorite Emily Dickinson poem? Until next time, kept rustling!

1 comment:

  1. These are gorgeous!Thanks for sharing. I would hate to be nostalgic about such difficult times, but there is still something of life lived in those photos that is very appealing. The rugged beauty, and straight forward expressions. I am not sure or current "fey" aesthetic is nearly as strong.