Wednesday, April 2, 2014

11 Photographs of 1970s Americans: See This Before Next Week's 'Documerica' Performance at OZ

Posted By on Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Mary Workman Holds a Jar of Undrinkable Water that Comes from Her Well, and has Filed a Damage Suit against the Hanna Coal Company, She has to Transport Water from a Well Many Miles Away Although the Coal Company Owns All the Land around Her, and Many Roads Are Closed, She Refuses to Sell, 10/1973
  • Mary Workman Holds a Jar of Undrinkable Water that Comes from Her Well, and has Filed a Damage Suit against the Hanna Coal Company, She has to Transport Water from a Well Many Miles Away Although the Coal Company Owns All the Land around Her, and Many Roads Are Closed, She Refuses to Sell, 10/1973

Most of us know about the government-commissioned photographs of Depression-era America — names like Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans are practically synonymous with Dust Bowl imagery. But less well-known is the similar 1970s Documerica project, an EPA-sponsored program designed to "photographically document subjects of environmental concern" in the United States from about 1972 to 1977. That's a shame: These photos are just as relevant to American cultural and visual history as the Lange and Evans shots, and may be the perfect antidote to contemporary social media overload. These photos captured the under-documented — back when there was such a thing.

For OZ Nashville's April program, the contemporary string quartet ETHEL will perform a multimedia story that's wrapped around the Documerica project. ETHEL's Documerica premiered last October at BAM, and on April 11-12 you'll be able to see it at OZ. But before you do, look through some of the photographs that inspired the piece — you may see several of them again projected onto the musicians during their performance. And look for a feature story about ETHEL's Documerica in April 10's Scene.

Michigan Avenue, Chicago, 07/1975
  • Michigan Avenue, Chicago, 07/1975

Two Girls Smoking Pot during an Outing in Cedar Woods Near Leakey, Texas, (Taken with Permission) One of Nine Pictures, Near San Antonio, 05/1973
  • Two Girls Smoking Pot during an Outing in Cedar Woods Near Leakey, Texas, (Taken with Permission) One of Nine Pictures, Near San Antonio, 05/1973

This Woman Lives on a Dairy Farm near Randolph Center Vermont, that has Been Owned by the Family for Six Generations Low Milk Prices and Increasing Property Taxes Threaten Her Way of Life, 06/1974
  • This Woman Lives on a Dairy Farm near Randolph Center Vermont, that has Been Owned by the Family for Six Generations Low Milk Prices and Increasing Property Taxes Threaten Her Way of Life, 06/1974

Two Latin Girls Pose in front of a Wall of Graffiti in Lynch Park in Brooklyn, New York City, this Project is a Portrait of the Inner City Environment, it Contains Life, Great Murals on the Walls of Buildings and People Enjoying Themselves, Todays Inner City is a Contradiction to Main Stream Americas Gas Stations Expressways Shopping Centers and Tract Homes, Blacks, Latins, and Poor Whites Live There, 06/1974
  • Two Latin Girls Pose in front of a Wall of Graffiti in Lynch Park in Brooklyn, New York City, this Project is a Portrait of the Inner City Environment, it Contains Life, Great Murals on the Walls of Buildings and People Enjoying Themselves, Today's Inner City is a Contradiction to Main Stream America's Gas Stations Expressways Shopping Centers and Tract Homes, Blacks, Latins, and Poor Whites Live There, 06/1974

Photograph of a Bride and Her Attendants in New Ulm, Minnesota, 10/1974
  • Photograph of a Bride and Her Attendants in New Ulm, Minnesota, 10/1974

The Painted Bus is Home, 10/1972
  • The Painted Bus is Home, 10/1972

Spring Roundup of Paiute-Owned Cattle begins at Sutcliffe Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, Coralling and Branding is Done in Five Stages around Pyramid Lake, Posing for the Photographer, 06/1973
  • Spring Roundup of Paiute-Owned Cattle begins at Sutcliffe Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation, Coralling and Branding is Done in Five Stages around Pyramid Lake, Posing for the Photographer, 06/1973

Young Woman Watches as Her Car goes through Testing at an Auto Emission Inspection Station in Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, All Light Duty, Spark Ignition Powered Motor Vehicles are Tested Annually for Carbon Monoxide and Hydrocarbon Emissions, and Given a Safety Check, All Other Vehicles Registered in the City Receive an Annual Safety Check, the Emissions Test on an Exhaust Analyzer went into Effect in January, 1975; The Safety Test Has Been in Effect Since 1940, 09/1975
  • Young Woman Watches as Her Car goes through Testing at an Auto Emission Inspection Station in Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, All Light Duty, Spark Ignition Powered Motor Vehicles are Tested Annually for Carbon Monoxide and Hydrocarbon Emissions, and Given a Safety Check, All Other Vehicles Registered in the City Receive an Annual Safety Check, the Emissions Test on an Exhaust Analyzer went into Effect in January, 1975; The Safety Test Has Been in Effect Since 1940, 09/1975

MR. ROBERT BOWMAN JONES, 78, SUFFERS FROM EMPHYSEMA, 06/1972
  • MR. ROBERT BOWMAN JONES, 78, SUFFERS FROM EMPHYSEMA, 06/1972

THE CHICANO AREA, OR SECOND WARD, IS SLOWLY GIVING WAY TO URBAN RENEWAL. 05/1972
  • THE CHICANO AREA, OR SECOND WARD, IS SLOWLY GIVING WAY TO URBAN RENEWAL. 05/1972

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