tv American Artifacts CSPAN September 6, 2015 10:29pm-11:01pm EDT
change. i hope that people will find out the color photographs are just part of a larger view of the country at that time. i hope they will go to our website. there they can see the 14 million pictures, references, discussions of the pictures that are digitized images. we have 1 million online, and we have discussions of the others. so, many of those are in the public domain at a high enough resolution they can be downloaded and used for reproduction in books. >> this program is the first of a two-part look at the farm security administration and office of war information color photographs. during the great depression and world war ii, photographers working for the u.s. government were signed to travel the united states and document living and working conditions and later war
production efforts. in 1939, the photographers began using kodachrome color film. in this second of a two part american artifacts, beverly brannan tells the stories about the collection and photographers. beverly: we are in the center vault of the prints and photographs division of the library of congress. the library has a collection of color photographs from the 1930's and 1940's. they started as an experiment with color film. kodak was just putting its color film in the market. sent it out to photographers at institutions to give it a try, to see if they could create a market for it. the pictures were free. so they were appealing to newspapers, magazines, publishing agencies, book publishers. i was familiar already with the black and white photographs. there are about 171,000 farm
security administration and office of war information black-and-white photographs. and i had been working with those for a few years. there was not much emphasis placed on the color transparencies, because they were hard to handle. they were unique items. only one of each. at the time, in the 1970's, it was really difficult to make a copy. it was very expensive to make a photograph. you had to make another print from the color transparency. people did not want to pay that extra money. so, these just sat on a shelf for a long time. and then sally stein, who's a photo historian, began doing a project about color film. she came to the library, wanted to see these color transparencies. i was one of the people who
helped serve her. at the time, the library did not have a way of making duplicates that was affordable for researchers. so, she brought a photographer with her to help make copies on a set up in our division. and i became intrigued. began looking at them more and more. but initially i thought, these are interloper pictures. they don't really belong. it took a while for me to realize they did the long, that there are pictures made of a same outing, that photographers would carry a 35mm camera, they would carry a roloflex, and they would carry cameras loaded with color film, not just black and white. that they would use these interchangeably. in some instances there are black and white pictures that are new duplicates of the color pictures you find online now in that 1930's and 1940's set.
these were bright places that would attract attention. before so many things got electronic, one of the functions of the newspaper office was to inform people on the street of the latest headlines before the newspaper got printed. they would make hand-lettered signs about the latest events. this picture shows exactly that, people standing outside the store, the newspaper office, reading the headlines, finding out what is going on. , place people could comment
citizens would just begin talking to each other, no obligation to maintain relationships, but you could express your opinion and move on. stores,pictures of particularly in ohio and lincoln, nebraska. lincoln, nebraska, is where he got his own seat under him. him.s own feet under he really liked walker evans. when he got out to nebraska, he found himself thinking, how would walker evans take this picture? and then -- how would i take this picture? and that is when he made the transition from trying to remember all of the instructions other people had given him to
just listening to his own mind. make the pictures the way he wanted to make them. he stayed in photography until his dying day. he went to texas to photograph ways the american workers were making the transition to war materials, the basis of the economy. this shows the many workers at a factory. previously, factories have been shut down. there were no jobs to be had. it is a mixed race group of people working there, which would not have happened before there was such a need for everybody to be put to work. as the united states got closer and closer to war, involvement
fororld war ii, the funding the programs diminished and funding for defense programs increased. we needed documentation for the need for war and to show how the money was being spent to get us into the war, helping our european allies. the people in charge of the program shifted from agriculturalists to advertising people. the pictures look different. jack was one of the more warific of the office of information photographers. he came at the end of the fsa period. paintereen trained as a
. he was a very good photographer. he was a people person. he could go into almost any , people telling him thoughtsir most secret and deepest desires and he would photograph them quite comfortably and they would all go away happier for the occasion. he saw stores as community centers and photographed them in ways that are like works of art. he had an internship in europe before world war ii, when too many museums, many -- went to many museums and many art galleries, able to photograph in a style that was extremely hisshed and yet, because of
proletarian background, he was making pictures of common people. his parents were intellectuals in lithuania before they came to america when he was about 12 years old. he did not remember much about his early childhood, but they settled in the philadelphia area. professor,had been a but he could not speak english, so he had to work at a furniture .tore for a relative his mother had been a dentist, but was not able to practice here. they lived a very simple lifestyle, they lived in an area .ith lots of coal miners jack became sympathetic to the life of coal miners. he related well to common
citizens in the united states. little-known that the fsa had offices in puerto rico and st. croix. puerto rico had been a u.s. protectorate since 1898 when it went from spanish ownership to the united states. business people have gone there and developed industries from tobacco, various other kinds of projects. the people themselves were not well cared for. there was a hurricane in the 1920's that destroyed much of the crop land. in the 1930's, people were starving to death. the united states went to teach them better farming techniques,
build housing that would not blow away with each hurricane. they were living in huts. life. a very rough -- enormousep high ly infant mortality rate. there was no milk. they were drinking coffee. it was this kind of extreme poverty that he wanted to address. ? is the only one -- jack was the only one who got down there and made these photographs because while he was there, pearl harbor occurred and the united states entered world war ii and he could not stay as long as he had hoped because he had
to get back to sign-up to go into the military. he did some work and st. croix, did some work in puerto rico. while he was there, he fell in love with the culture, decided after the war he was going back and that is exactly what happened. -- he wentk without back to puerto rico where he worked initially for these government projects and then he became the head of public television working for the puerto rican government. i went down to visit him a few years before his death. when we went out to dinner, it was like going out to dinner with a movie star. he lived a very full life in puerto rico, working always for the common people in puerto rico.
in sync right, he made pictures -- st. croix, he made pictures that were works of art. he just loved showing people at work. he thought the dignity of work was one of the most important things of life. the picture shows a woman stooping over her garden to tend it. the colors are luminous. face, but the her way jack has made this picture, you get the idea that this woman tendsvery hard, that she things carefully and has an eye for beauty. this is one of the more beautiful pictures of train
engines, being carefully washed and cared for. you can see water streaming down from above. showslor combination jack's ability to make art out of everything he saw. he made most of the railroad fsaographs in the collection. he was sent to document american thesportation as part of preparation for world war ii. he started off in chicago and took the train out west, did a big loop through california, new arizona, back up to chicago again. he got along very well with the people working on the railroad. they let him ride on the engine,
document their lives, he went home for dinner with some of them. photograph them at home with their families. showed the life of a railroad man. he photographed people using lanterns in the rail yards. that is how they communicated in the days before walkie-talkies or electronics. they used these lights as a morse code. the movement of the light has certain meaning. the captions indicate what is being communicated with those like patterns. -- light patterns. occasionally, his wife would join him. they would go to a hotel at night and make up songs about the trip they had just made on the train. he would play the harmonica and she would sing and they
entertained themselves while they were traveling on the road that way. part of what he did was to photograph women at work. he was very sympathetic to women workers. his mother supported the family by running a black market dentistry office in their home. his father was never able to adapt to uslife very well -- u.s. life very well. his mother was the one who made the money they lived on. he was very sympathetic to other women working. he made beautiful portraits of women. it was natural you would go into the rail yards and photographed the women -- it was natural he would go into the rail yards and photographed the women at work. they look very different from the women photographed by the office of war information.
the women in jack's pictures are not wearing lipstick. they had their hair done up in bandannas to keep dirt out of their hair. they are just very simply. -- they are dressed very simply, sensible shoes. they are having their sandwiches from wax paper. it is just the way you would expect people in a rough and tumble job to be looking. not dramatically lit. the women were taking over the men's jobs because so many men had been sent to the front or they were working in military situations. up for womenened who had been excluded from the
previous -- a lot of sentiment that women were not physically , that do factory work they were mentally not able to grasp what was involved, they should be home taking care of en. when push came to shove, they have to go out. when the war was over, they were the home roleto or secretarial jobs. painting the emblem on an airplane that is going to be used in the war. she looks like a fashion model. mascara and lipstick and nail polish.
she is not wearing gloves to protect her hands from the paint. at the end of the day, she will look pretty grubby. this is a posed photograph, beautifully lit. it was made by alfred palmer. alfred palmer trained as an advertising photographer. he used lots of light, wanted , wanteduct to look good people to buy whatever it was he was photographing. his type of photography became very popular when the united states began gearing up to enter world war ii. we wanted to look strong and forceful when we met the axis powers. stylelly, roy stryker's of documentation was phased out and out fred palmer became -- and alfred palmer became the
leading voice. art in theirs of own right. you have to wonder sometimes about how much manipulation went into them. this is not a very realistic way to go about dirty work. this is a photograph by alfred palmer. the woman is working on wires, but she is not really working on wires. it is a posed photograph. she is so beautifully grand, she has on a very -- she is so , she has ongroomed a very stylish dress. she does have on work gloves. it was a very different aesthetic used for some rosie
the riveter type of pictures. rosie the riveter was a phenomenon surrounding world war had to take over jobs previously done by men. a lot of animosity toward women coming into the workplace. the government launched a publicity campaign to show that women could do these jobs, they were capable of doing them with a smile. that is what the rosie the riveter term suggests. alfred palmer did a lot of work tohollywood before he came work for the office of war information. this shows up in the dramatic lighting. the man looks as though he is going off to do something very
serious. this dark section behind him that looks like he is -- it is propelling him into the light. he does look like he performs the functions on a regular basis. he certainly looks like the kind of person you would want to accomplish a mission for you. some of alfred palmer's pictures are so staged looking that it stretches the imagination that this man would be out working .nder this dramatic looking sky he probably is a worker. his clothing is stained and soiled with oil and dirt, whatever. he is very muscular looking.
he looks at home in his hard hat. yet he is wearing a ring. perhaps he is a hollywood actor standing in, but he certainly looks the part of someone who would scare off the enemy. who would be showing the united states is not just the weak and poor. that we were not a people who could be easily brought to ground by the italians, germans, and japanese. that we would put up a good fight. archery collins was a new yorker -- marjorie collins was a new yorker. to beid she did not want caught up in doing more propaganda. -- war propaganda.
but she went in to this mapsflage area, camouflage for defense purposes, studying ways of interpreting aerial she ended upso doing a very good job of what she said she did not want to do. it was very helpful for us to have these kinds of pictures, a little surprising to see the man with his pipe standing over the work. a little surprising to see a woman working with them in such close proximity. there we have it in color. beganlly, agencies providing photographs for newspapers, magazines, film
footage, the newsreels that were popular at the time. roy stryker had kept very tight grasp on the operation as long as he was in charge of it. the fontographer's -- the photographers reported to him. e charged other agencies the per diem. he was a wily bureaucrat and understood those other places could pay for the travel and his photographers would have to charge his agency only for the days they made his pictures. diminishing in realized hise strategy was about to backfire on him because the national had come into existence
during the time he was working. government pictures, government photographers pictures had to go to the national archives and had of theo the records agency that paid for them. that meant he would no longer have this time capsule of all of the pictures made under his agents. they would be dispersed to whoever paid for the travel money. he was still well and is connected that he was able to pull strings to get the fsa collection to come to the library of congress where it could be kept together as a single unit. it took the president to step in to say they could be kept together, but he did have the connections to get to the president.
1946, a person was hired to reorganize the collection. initially, it it had been divided by state and apparently, it was a cumbersome system to locate photographs and get them back from where they can -- where they came from. they hired paul vanderbilt who was trained as a librarian. he microfilmed the collection by job. they started it out by photographer and assignment. they dispersed them in a file that is in the reading room now. it took a couple of years for them to make that transition. they typed the captions for the photographs. they had been handwritten. these people used a simplified language so there was consistency of word use, pasted
the captions, and they have been in use in our reading room since 1946. [no audio] >> here on c-span 3, we show you the most relevant congressional hearings and public affairs events. on weekend, where the home to american tea -- american history tv. anniversaryrs 150th historyan artifacts, the presidency,
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