JF Ptak Science Books Post 1806
Found below is a selection of photographic images from the Farm Security Administration collection at the Library of Congress. Today's photographer: Dorothea Lange.
On of the great innovations in a sea of great things accomplished during the Franklin Roosevelt administrations was the formation of the Farm Security Administration, a division of the government established to help farmers through the devastating Dust Bowl and Great Depression. A subset of the FSA was a photographic unit which was set up to document the progress made by the FSA (and provide, I am sure, for some much-needed good news, a hearts-and-minds campaign). This division was headed by Roy Emerson Stryker, who wound up hiring a collection of dream-team photographers unlike any ever assembled for a single purpose. Esther Bubley, Marjory Collins, Mary Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Jack Delano, Gordon Parks, Charlotte Brooks, John Vachon, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn were sent out all across the country and wound up with the greatest and most beautiful photographic history ever assembled in the United States. There were about 77,000 images made, and I recall reading (somewhere) that the total budget for the Stryker group for the years 1936-1942 was about $100,000, meaning that each completed image cost just over a dollar apiece. So far as art funding by the government is concerned, that about the best it has done.
[Listed below are some samples of Lange's work at the LC--there are more than 3,000 images by her in the collection, found here. All images below are also expandable.]
Note: occassionally found among these images are those with a black dot in the center. That was the editorial work of Mr. Stryker, who for some reason hole-punched images that he thought weren't quite up to snuff, or unacceptable for some reason. In this ruination he also decided to archive them, which means if he was keeping them anyway he might as well have not plugged them, keeping them whole and intact and in their own pile. Anyway, that is what the black dot is all about.