A government agency that worked! And all too often, it is the result of one inspired individual. His name was Roy Stryker. In the 1930's he worked for the Department of Agriculture, in a bureau once called the "Resettlement Administration," but later, and much more famously, the Farm Security Administration (FSA). He carefully recruited a small group of equally inspired (and inspiring) photographers to document what was happening in the United States, with the grinding poverty that was all too often farm life during the Great Depression, particularly in the Dust Bowl. He never employed more than six photographers at one time; overall, perhaps 12 passed through the doors of the FSA. Their photographs of the nameless, and their own names still resonate. There was Walter Evans, Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee and others. They were the first to be called "documentary photographers," and their work paid dividends many fold, pushing Congress to take action to end a national catastrophe. I first became aware of their work in my copy of The Family Of Man which I had purchased in the 1960's. So when Time/Life Books brought out this work in 1972, I viewed it as an essential purchase.
It is a sampling of the work of photographers since the invention of photography to the publication of the book. They grouped photographers under various rubrics, covering certain time periods.Read more ›
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