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Thread: America in Color 1939-1940

  1. #1

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    America in Color 1939-1940

    Found some fabulous photos of Americana circa 1940, here on the Denver Post site. Enjoy.


    http://extras.denverpost.com/archive/captured.html

  2. #2
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    They're beautiful. Very nice.
    my picture blog
    ejwoodbury.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    unexposed darr's Avatar
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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    Thanks for sharing!

    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

    LF Print Exchange Gallery

  4. #4
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    Ditto!

    Thomas

  5. #5
    hacker extraordinaire
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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    It seems interesting how many of them seem to be shot in direct sunlight, but don't have out-of-control contrast like I would expect from transparency film shot in direct sunlight. I wonder if they are faded slightly.

  6. #6
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    It's surreal to see these familiar themes in color. Makes them seem more immediate somehow. Very cool.

  7. #7

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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    Thanks for posting this.
    I love seeing these old images BUT -- this rather hokey, usually posed kind of stuff was presented to "us" in the photo magazines of the 40s and 50s as being "fine" photography. There was no (or at least limited) exposure to the work of Weston, Adams, Cartier-Bresson, Lange, Gene Smith, Hine, etc.
    I now realized that I had wasted my "mis-spent photographic youth" trying to emulate this genre of pseudo-documentary kitsch(sp?). It took me another 20 years to go beyond this. It's really too bad -- growing up in a small rural town, as a kid I had access to a world which has now disappeared.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  8. #8

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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_1856 View Post
    Thanks for posting this.
    I love seeing these old images BUT -- this rather hokey, usually posed kind of stuff was presented to "us" in the photo magazines of the 40s and 50s as being "fine" photography. There was no (or at least limited) exposure to the work of Weston, Adams, Cartier-Bresson, Lange, Gene Smith, Hine, etc.
    I now realized that I had wasted my "mis-spent photographic youth" trying to emulate this genre of pseudo-documentary kitsch(sp?). It took me another 20 years to go beyond this. It's really too bad -- growing up in a small rural town, as a kid I had access to a world which has now disappeared.
    On the art vs documentary spectrum I agree they are mostly on the documentary side, but that's what I like about them. Look at pic 44 and many others...just a quick capture of what the American world was like in 1940. I don't see too many that are pseudo-doc, they look to me like the photographer called a bunch of people over and made a shot. The clothes, expressions, buildings, cars, foods, all are authentic Americana. I think you are saying the same thing - it's amazing what has changed.

    Sometimes I'd rather look at a picture of people at a country BBQ than an artfully lighted bell pepper.

  9. #9
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    It seems interesting how many of them seem to be shot in direct sunlight, but don't have out-of-control contrast like I would expect from transparency film shot in direct sunlight. I wonder if they are faded slightly.
    But didn't Kodachrome have an 8-stop range? (I never shot the stuff myself, as I only use 35mm for HIE)

  10. #10

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    Re: America in Color 1939-1940

    These were nice and color certainly captures the literal look of the times better than b&w. But I thought the b&w photographs by the FSA photographers were more effective at conveying what the First Great Depression (can't just call it the "Great Depression" any more since we're now in a second one) must have felt like.

    "Low art is just telling things, as, there is the night. High art gives the feel of the night. The latter is nearer reality although the former is a copy." Robert Henri
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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