Why Were These Photographs of the Great Depression Rejected and Scarred?

From 1934 to 1943, Roy Stryker was head of the FSA farm documentation project. There were many negatives he deemed unsuitable for printing. Some of the images have obvious flaws, such as blurred subjects or over-exposed areas. Other images seem to not have much going on, like a farmhouse against the background of a hill. Yet, some of the rejected images seem to show another side to our America. Distraught women seem to weep, eroded soil shows no sign of recovery, children pick through heaps of garbage (unaware that this is not a normal childhood), and children swim in an integrated (and makeshift) swimming pool. Perhaps Stryker thought that the public was not ready for these images. Of all the well-known and compelling images to come from the FSA projects, it is a bit shocking to know that there were more poignant ones still. The poverty that was depicted in the approved images tells only a part of the story.

Little Girls Playing Rejected FSA Photo
Via/ Library of Congress
New York Farmer Rejected FSA Photo
Via/ Library of Congress
Woman on Fire Escape with Shoe FSA Rejected Photo
Via/ Library of Congress
FSA rejected photo pf farmers
Via/ Library of Congress

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Medicine man's makeshift depression era car home FSA rejected photo
Via/ Library of Congress

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