John White: Portrait of Black Chicago
The following essay is adapted from a longer article by Bruce I. Bustard, the curator of Portrait of Black Chicago.
The DOCUMERICA Project, 1971-77
If I were to begin describing to you a collection of photographs in the National Archives, taken in the early and mid-1970s by photographers on contract with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you would probably not get too enthusiastic. And if I would then say that these photographs document “subjects of environmental concern,” you would probably assume, as I did, that this collection consists of images of smog, clear-cut timber, traffic congestion, sewerage plants, and oil spills.
You would be in for a pleasant surprise.
You would be surprised because, while the images I am discussing–the records of the EPA`s DOCUMERICA Project–do, in fact, contain scenes of environmental blight, they also include many images that go well beyond any narrow definition of “environmental concern.” In the holdings of DOCUMERICA are
THEORY: "The DOCUMERICA Project, 1971-77, John White – Portrait of Black Chicago"