Swanson took this picture for DOCUMERICA, a photography program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From 1972 to 1977, it hired over 100 photographers to “document subjects of environmental concern.” They created an archive of about 80,000 images. In addition to recording damage to the nation’s landscapes, the project captured “the era’s trends, fashions, problems, and achievements,” according to the Archives, which held an exhibit of the photos, “Searching for the Seventies,” in 2013.
You can see these homes today here.
These autochromes are three of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.
“Porches, New Jersey,” February 1936, by Carl Mydans for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, via The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, The New York Public Library.
Carl Mydans was working for the U.S. Resettlement Administration when he took this picture. Shortly afterwards, he was hired by Life and is probably best remembered today for his war photography for the magazine.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
Looking through a “slat screen” from the back porch of a house on Randolph Street (probably N.W.), Washington, D.C., May 1942, by John Ferrell, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
OK, it’s possible that I’m easily amused.
Also, I have holiday shopping to do. . . and it’s Bloom Day. (So more later.)
John Ferrell was a photographer for the Farm Security Administration when he took these photos.
Randolph Street, N.W., runs east-west through the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back. . .
— Gwendolyn Brooks, from “a song in the front yard“