The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, Chief, Prints & Photographs Division.
Drum roll please! Fireworks, too! Please join us in celebrating not only the Fourth of July, but the arrival of new scans that showcase close to 45,000 of the beloved Great Depression era photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection (FSA).
A multi-year project is now underway to digitize the full archive of more than 170,000 images at higher resolution. In the first phase, all of the 35mm FSA negatives were scanned to a specification that reveals the “the full information content of the original scene.” (Next up: the larger format nitrate sheet film.)
The fastest way to explore the freshly scanned 35mm negatives is to use the call number code USF33. Fast being a relative term—it’s still tens of thousands of pictures, but with much to enjoy as you step back into the 1930s and 1940s.
Let us know: Which FSA photos are your favorites when it’s time to celebrate?
- Shouldn’t the biggest digital file size be larger than 20-30MB? No. The Library ran tests to determine how best to capture these small frames made when 35mm film was still fairly new. Carl Fleischhauer summarized the results in "Information or Artifact: Digitizing Photographic Negatives and Transparencies," a two-part blog with a first installment on October 18, 2011. The two posts describe the work done by Don Williams, Michael Stelmach, and Steve Puglia to make this valuable distinction.
- Read about the digital specifications for FSA/OWI.
- Explore more of the Farm Security/Office of War Information Collection.
- 35mm film for still photography, Wikipedia article.