The GUARDIAN got an e-mail from a friend who discovered aseries of old KODACHROME images taken by U.S Government photogs working for the Farm Security Administration. The colorful images were made all over the USA as a “make work” project prior to 1941. This one happened to be of Main Street in Cascade, Idaho.
Not just anyone could buy this film. It cost $5 per roll and had to be sent back
to Rochester , New York for processing. By comparison, in 1938 Congress established
the first minimum wage at 25 cents per hour. A five dollar bill represented half a week’s work. The
Farm Security Administration sent out about a dozen photographers with this new film.
Commercial photographer, Samuel Gottscho, and well-to-do amateur, Charles Cushman,
embraced this new technology, as well.
The FSA along with a whole bunch of agencies were “make work” agencies, but their historical record is a legacy we see today in photos, bridges, post offices, and wilderness trails. World War II put an end to most of these agencies, let’s hope we can find our way out of the current mess without more war.
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