How a Hole Punch Shaped Public Perception of the Great Depression
Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mr. Tronson, farmer near Wheelock, North Dakota. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/LC-DIG-FSA-8A22121
From his office at the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in Washington, D.C., Roy Stryker saw, time and again, the reality of the Great Depression, and the poverty and desperation gripping America’s rural communities. As head of the Information Division and manager of the FSA’s photo-documentary project, his job was to hire and brief photographers, and then select images they captured for distribution and publication. His eye helped shape the way we view the Great Depression, even today.
Professionally, Stryker was known for two things: preserving thousands of photographs from being destroyed for political reasons, and for “killing” lots of photos himself. Negatives he liked were selected to be printed. Those he didn’t—ones that didn’t fit the narrative and perspective of the FSA at the time, perhaps—were met with the business end of hole punch, which left gaping black voids in place of hog’s bellys, industrial landscapes, and the faces of farmworkers.
Read more about it on Atlas Obsura
Untitled photo, possibly related to: Twelve-year old girl of family of nine, cooking meal in rude, open lean-to near hut, Tennessee. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/LC-DIG-FSA-8A01641 AND LC-DIG-FSA-8A01645
Untitled photo, possibly related to: Sharecropper’s children. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/LC-DIG-FSA-8A07460 AND LC-DIG-FSA-8A07461
Untitled photo, possibly related to: Ohio River in flood, Louisville, Kentucky. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/LC-DIG-FSA-8A01689
Untitled photo, possibly related to: Morrison Gross and Company, sawmill, Erwin, West Virginia. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS/LC-DIG-FSA-8A39841
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