Tagged: 1970s

DOCUMERICA: A pictorial look at everyday life in 1970s America

In 1971, the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced its DOCUMERICA project, an ambitious endeavor intended to photographically observe Americans, their surroundings, and their daily impact on the environment.

George Washington Bridge in Heavy Smog, NYC, May 1973, by Chester Higgins

George Washington Bridge in Heavy Smog, NYC, May 1973, by Chester Higgins

With former National Geographic photo editor Gifford Hampshire at the helm, the project began in earnest in January of 1972, providing freelance photographers a per diem allowance and an unlimited supply of film.

Approaching Logan Airport. East Boston, MA, May 1973, by Michael Philip Manheim

Approaching Logan Airport. East Boston, MA, May 1973, by Michael Philip Manheim

By 1978, when the initiative was dissolved, these shooters had produced more than 20,000 images, nearly 16,000 of which have been digitized by the United States National Archives and can be viewed on their website. The Archives has also published many of these images, sorted by their respective photographers, on Flickr.

Fort Smith, AR, May 1972, by Jim Olive

Fort Smith, AR, May 1972, by Jim Olive

Downtown Parking Lot, Cincinnati, OH, August 1973, by Tom Hubbard

Downtown Parking Lot, Cincinnati, OH, August 1973, by Tom Hubbard

The EPA has also created a small collection on Flickr titled DOCUMERICA: Then and Now, which includes side-by-side comparisons of the original images with new ones taken in the last few years, noting the hits and misses of environmental awareness in the past 40 years. (The naturally-occurring color fades on the before images make the images look grimier than they really are, but the differences are still evident.)

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Rockport, MA, February 1973, by Deborah Parks; and September 2011, by Margo Palmer

Kennewick, WA, April 1973, by David Falconer; and June 2012, by Craig Leaper

Columbia River, Kennewick, WA, April 1973, by David Falconer; and June 2012, by Craig Leaper

Life in The Florida Keys During The 1970s

By , Flashbak

Flip Schulke (June 24, 1930, Cornish, New Hampshire; died: May 15, 2008, West Palm Beach, Florida) documented everyday life in the Florida Keys during the 1970s for the US Documerica Project (1971-1977) . A teacher at the University of Missouri’s Columbia School of Journalism, Schulke was aided in his mission by several students.

Bicycle Club of the Century Village Retirement Community Meets Each Morning.

Bicycle Club of the Century Village Retirement Community Meets Each Morning. Photo by Flip Schulke

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Photos of Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain on a Summer’s Day in 1976

By  | Flashbak
Bethesda Fountain in 1976 | Photo by Robert Iulo

Bethesda Fountain in 1976 | Photo by Robert Iulo

Bethesda Fountain sits on the lower level of the terrace of New York’s City’s Central Park. The pool features Emma Stebbins’ Angel of the Water, a fountain statue unveiled in 1873. Beneath the angels spreading wings are four cherubs representing those archetypal New York values of Temperance, Purity, Health, and Peace.

The fountain commemorates the Croton water system, which first brought fresh water to New York City in 1842. The angel carries a lily in her left hand — a symbol of the water’s purity, very important to a city that had previously suffered from a devastating cholera epidemic before the system was established.

On one summer’s day in 1976, Robert Iulo photographed the people around the fountain.

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