JF PtakScience Books Poster Series
[Image source: Library of Congress]
This magnificent photograph was made by Jack Delano (1914-1997) while working for Roy Stryker at the Farm Security Administration agency (FSA). It is called “C & NW RR, Locomotives in the Roundhouse at Proviso Yard, Chicago, Ill.”, and was made in December 1942. This has long been one of my favorite images in the FSA color archives.
One of the great innovations in a sea of great things accomplished during the Franklin Roosevelt administrations was the formation of the Farm Security Administration, a division of the government established to help farmers through the devastating Dust Bowl and Great Depression. A subset of the FSA was a photographic unit which was set up to document the progress made by the FSA (and provide, I am sure, for some much-needed good news, a hearts-and-minds campaign). This division was headed by Roy Emerson Stryker, who wound up hiring a collection of dream-team photographers unlike any ever assembled for a single purpose. Esther Bubley, Marjory Collins, Mary Post Wolcott, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Jack Delano, Gordon Parks, Charlotte Brooks, John Vachon, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn were sent out all across the country and wound up with the greatest and most beautiful photographic history ever assembled in the United States. There were about 77,000 images made, and I recall reading (somewhere) that the total budget for the Stryker group for the years 1936-1942 was about $100,000, meaning that each completed image cost just over a dollar apiece. So far as art funding by the government is concerned, that about the best it has done.
(I can offer a print of this image as all o fhe work done for the FSA and Office of War Information and for the federal government in general are without copyright or personal ownership and are the property of the people of the United States. The blog offers a 13’x19″ poster of this, here.)
And another view of the work area:
By: Ptak Science Books
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries