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FSA - Farm Security Administration - OWI: Early colour 
 
  
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Over recent years there has been an increase in interest in early colour photography and there are now some excellent histories.[1] Some of this has concentrated on the Autochrome[2][3] as the hundredth year anniversary of its release in 2007 but more generally there is a reaction against the simplicity of saying that the use of colour became accepted because of exhibitions of the work of photographers like Stephen Shore, William Eggleston and others. It may be true that they are significant in the acceptance within American fine art photography exhibitions but to understand the context the analysis of archives is necessary and that is now happening.
 
The FSA - Farm Security Administration[4][5] and related Federal organizations in the USA took many of the photographs of the 1930s and 40s that are the "American Memory"[6] - this project within the Library of Congress is aptly named as it brings together all forms of original source media. Within the archives there are a number of colour slides by Russell Lee, John Vachon, Jack Delano and others taken in the early 1940s that hint of the significance that colour would have for documentary photography
  

Footnotes 
  
  1. Λ Pam Roberts, 2007, A Century of Colour Photography: From the Autochrome to the Digital Age, (London: Andre Deutsch); Nathalie Boulouch, 2011, Le ciel est bleu: Une histoire de la photographie couleur, (Textuel) 
      
  2. Λ John Wood, 1993, The Art of the Autochrome: The Birth of Color Photography, (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press); Bertrand Lavédrine, 2013, The Lumière Autochrome: History, Technology, and Preservation, (Getty Publications); Bertrand Laverdrine et. al., 2009, L'autochrome Lumière: Secrets d'atelier et défis industriels, (Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques - CTHS), [French] 
      
  3. Λ For the Autochrome archives of Albert Kahn - David Okuefuna, 2008, Albert Kahn: Le monde en couleurs Autochromes 1908-1931, (Chne) [French]; David Okuefuna, 2008, The Dawn of the Color Photograph: Albert Kahn's Archives of the Planet, (Princeton University Press); David Okuefuna, 2008, The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn: Colour Photographs from a Lost Age, (BBC Books). There was also an excellent BBC multi-part TV series, The Wonderful World Of Albert Kahn (DVD Release date: 7 Sept 2009) 
      
  4. Λ Farm, Security Administration (FSA), established by Secretary's Memorandum 732, September 1, 1937. 
      
  5. Λ The literature on the FSA is vast and almost all the photographers involved have monographs on their work.
     
    For general overviews - Pete Daniel et al., 1987, Official Images: New Deal Photography, (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution); F. Jack Hurley, 1972, Portrait of a Decade: Roy Stryker and the Development of Documentary Photography in the Thirties, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press); Françoise Poos (ed.), Jean Back, Gabriel Bauret & Antoinette Lorang, 2012, The Bitter Years: Edward Steichen and the Farm Security Administration Photographs, (D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers); William Stott, 1986, Documentary Expression and Thirties America, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press); Roy Stryker & Nancy Wood, 1975, In This Proud Land: America 1935–1943 as Seen in FSA Photographs, (Boston: New York Graphic Society); Alan Trachtenberg & Lawrence W, Levine, 1988, Documenting America, 1935–1943, (Berkeley: University of California Press) 
      
  6. Λ The Library of Congress - American Memory
    (Accessed: 18 August 2014)
    memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html 
      
 
  
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