Friday, September 28, 2012

Early Color Film

Heather Cox Richardson

In the late 1930s, Charles Cushman began to experiment with color film. For the next three decades, his photos documented the technological and social changes in America in striking images.

The images bring home the human dimension of history. Tractors didn’t just replace horse-drawn carts; farmers driving tractors down dirt roads passed farmers driving their horse-drawn carts the other way. Seeing the men in Cushman’s images brings home the human element imbedded in historical change. It’s impossible not to imagine the pride of the farmer with the new-fangled tractor as he sports the newest technology past his less-well-off neighbor, and to suspect that the man with the horses feels both left behind and superior to the man who has jumped on the latest fad. The photos draw you—and with luck, students—in, putting human experience of the twentieth century’s momentous changes front and center.

They are well worth a look.

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