DOCUMERICA is a photographic archive created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) between 1971 and 1977. Inspired by the iconic Farm Security Administration (FSA) programme of the 1930s, the project had two main aims 1) to establish a visual baseline of environmental problems against which it would measure progress over time and, 2) to show the connections between people and the environment.
The archive is full of photographs of visible signs pollution, industrial smoke stacks billow toxic chemical cocktails into the atmosphere and waterways glow unnaturally in vibrant orange. These photographs capture the symptoms and effects of the growing environmental crisis of the 1970s. What might the photographs of the people of DOCUMERICA contain about causes?
Photographs by Jack Corn, Danny Lyon, Lyntha Scott Eiler, John Neubauer, David Hiser, Flip Schulke, Ken Heyman, Marc St. Gil, Dick Swanson, Jane Cooper, Charles O’Rear, Norton Boyd, and Deborah Parks.