Out of the Fortiesby Nicholas Lemann
Cowboys play cards in their Texas bunkhouse, a little girl watches her father fix the family DeSoto, a ground crewman in Pittsburgh kneels on the wing of a propellered airplane, women farmworkers pack broccoli for shipment, a frock-coated minister stands at the door of his Louisiana church. These are among the powerful images of 1940s America created by such documentary photographers as Esther Bubley, Edwin and Louise Rosskam, Russell Lee, and Gordon Parks. Assembled for Standard Oil by Roy Stryker, who had directed the famed Farm Security Administration photography project, the resulting collection of some 85,000 pictures stands as perhaps the most comprehensive record of the middle and late 1940s in any medium. It depicts a nation that was still close to its rural and small-town roots but also testing its industrial and technological strength.
In the early 1980s, journalist Nicholas Lemann decided to find out what had happened to some of the people and places the Standard Oil photographs record. First published in 1983, Out of the Forties is at once a compilation of the stories he heard and a portrait of a nation that has seen the strong yet sometimes repressive bonds of family and community give way to the greater prosperity and personal freedom of subsequent decades.
- Smithsonian Institution Press
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- 10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.48(d)
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