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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

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Say Cheeseburger: 1938

Say Cheeseburger: 1938

August 1938. "Itinerant photographer in Columbus, Ohio." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative. Photograph by Ben Shahn, Farm Security Administration.



The photographer has added a wrapped cloth around the probably deteriorating, light- leaking bellows.

259 East Main Street

I wondered where this was taken so I looked up the Economy Furniture Co. in the 1938 Columbus City Directory.


One of the better portraits that Shahn completed while working for the FSA, imho: rich in detail, rich in human expression. His photos from this period often were "stretches" to make a socialist statement; here he seems to be showing us a straight ahead, working man street scene. Not quite on the level of August Sander's work, but still quite impressive.
Denny Gill
Chugiak, Alaska

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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