I'm a firm believer in the saying "A picture speaks a thousand words". In this blog post, I have documented American's history through significant photographers and their photos. I have divided the sections by photographic themes. If you notice any significant events missing and/or any inaccurate dates/information, please comment and I will try to fix it. Most of the photos are historically significant, but I have tried to go for more artsy photos than not. It's likely this thing'll give me a hard time when I attempt to post it, but hopefully you'll be able to click on the photos to make them bigger.
CIVIL WAR, 1861-1865 - The War between the North and the South over the issue of slavery. The North was led by Abraham Lincoln, the South by Jefferson Davis. Obviously, the North won, because who's ever heard of Jefferson Davis? The war began when Republican abolitionist Abraham Lincoln was elected president against the South's will. The South almost immediately seceded from the Union. When the war was over, slavery was abolished and the reconstruction began. Unfortunately, African-Americans were still discriminated against until nearly a hundred years later.
Mathew Brady started as a portrait photographer of many famous people, and then brought his photo studio to the battlefield with the beginning of the Civil War. He himself did not go out on the battlefield much, on account of his failing eyesight, instead, he sent several young photographers out to capture images of the battles of the Civil War. These men included Alexander Gardner, James Gardner, Timothy H. O'Sullivan, William Pywell, George N. Barnard, Thomas C. Roche, and others.
Alexander Gardener left Mathew Brady, probably annoyed that the man gave himself all the credit for his apprentice’s work. He went on to photograph the Battle of Gettysburg, later he took the last photo of Lincoln before the president’s assassination, and photographs of the conspirators of the assassination.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States (March 1861- April 1865), led the North against the South in the Civil War. He was assassinated right after the war ended. (Mathew Brady)
FACTORY WORKERS, etc. - This is around the Gilded age & theProgressive era of the USA. During the Gilded age hundreds of thousands of immigrants migrated to America. Most of these people ended up in the big cities and worked at factories. They lived in filthy conditions with sometimes over 4,000 people stuffed into just one city block. Corrupt machine bosses, such as boss Tweed, helped the immigrants in exchange for their votes in order to gain power. These men often made millions off of taxpayer dollars. Men such asRockefeller and Andrew Carnegie invented vertical & horizontal integration, by which the entire work of a factory, from mining to selling, was combined in one company, making goods cheaper. During the Progressive Era, people worked to expose the corrupt workings of politics. Women's suffrage and other civil rights movements also characterized this era.
Jacob Riis was another social reformer and photographer. He focused mainly on improving conditions in the tenement slums of NY City. His book, "How The Other Half Lives", he wrote to raise awareness of the deplorable conditions in the city.
Lewis Hine, a progressives, started out as a teacher, before realizing his real talent lay in photojournalism. He was hired by the National Child Labor Committee to photograph children workers in their petition for child labor laws. He photographed for the American Red Cross relief in Europe and later he was hired to photograph the building of the Empire State Building.
“Joseph Severio, peanut vender, age 11 [seen with photographer Hine]. Been pushing a cart 2 years. Out after midnight on May 21, 1910. Ordinarily works 6 hours per day. Works of his own volution. All earnings go to his father. Wilmington, Del.” – (Lewis Hine’s original caption. Click this to see more of his photos.)
An eleven-year-old factory girl catches a glimpse of life outside. Rhodes Mfg. Co. Lincolnton, N.C. (Lewis Hine)
Edward Curtis (1868 - 1952) was another photographer Midwest photographer who focused mainly on the Native American people. In 1906, J.P. Morgan offered Curtis $75,000 to photograph the Native Americans and their traditions before their way of life faded away. He took over 40,000 photos of more than 80 tribes, and wrote biographical sketches of many Indian chiefs.
Ansel Adams (1902- 1984), was a photographer and environmentalist, famous for his photos of the American midwest.
I have decided to add a photo of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the US (1901-1909), a conservationist president who set apart a lot of land out west for National Parks. This is a photo of him on safari in Africa after his presidential term.
HINDENBURG - A large German airship, it flew from March 1936 to May 6, 1937. On May 6th it caught on fire at the end of its transatlantic journey, in NJ. I am just putting this here because these are awesome photos.
May 6, 1937
May 6, 1937
Fall of the Hindenburg
GREAT DEPRESSION - began with the stock market crash of 1929, and lasted until America joined WWII. In the USA, unemployment raised to 25%. The country was not helped by the Dust Bowl, caused by drought and erosion in the Midwest, which displaced hundreds of thousands from their now useless, windblown farms. (Please note that the photos in this section overlap with WWII, the next section, although all of these are on the same subject matter. I also happen to be a bit of a photo enthusiast and may have gotten a little bit carried away with this particular section (and no doubt others when I get to them. ;) )
Dorothea Lange, a well-known photographer of the Great Depression, also started as a portrait photographer in her own personal studio. She only took one class in photography, and mostly learned by working for various photographers in her area. Later she started working for SERA (State Emergency Relief Administration) with Paul Taylor, whom she later married. After that she worked for FSA (Farm Security Administration), to show the country the destitute migrant workers. At the beginning of the US entry into WWII, she was also hired to take photos of Japanese being evacuated. To see more of her photos, click here.
Jack Delano was another photographer for the FSA to help raise awareness of conditions. He went on a 1941 trip to Puerto Rico for FSA and when the FSA was dumped by the government he went on to be a musical composer. To see more of his photos click here.)
World War II (1939 - 1945) - The War, involving almost the entire world, between Germany, Japan and other Axis forces against UK, USSR and other Allied forces (Scroll to bottom to see list of countries joined). The War began when Adolph Hitler and Germany invaded Poland. The United States was hesitant about joining the war until the attack on Pearl Harbor, which enraged and convinced the USA to join the Allied forces. On June 6, 1944, D-day, Allied forces invaded French and pushed back the German forces until the German forces surrendered on May 7th, 8th (VE, Victory in Europe day) and 11th, 1945 (different places/armies). The Allied forces then demanded Japan to surrender; when they didn't, the USA dropped atomic bombs on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Afterwards, Japan finally surrendered. (Yes, I know, I'm leaving things out. How about YOU try to right a summary of WWII, bub!)
Alfred Eisenstaedt took the famous VJ day photo of the sailor kissing the nurse. He was a LIFE photographer. I highly recommend looking at his photos: here... mostly because I like them and am really sad I can't fit them in this blog post.
Various: Because this was a WORLD war, many of the photos here are not taken by an particular person. Instead I have tried to find the most iconic, artistic, and monumental photos possible.
December 7, 1941
The bombing by Japanese at Pearl Harbor first incited the USA to join the war. This led, unfortunately, to Japanese Americans being prosecuted for their ethnicity. Many Japanese Americans were sent to Japanese Internment camps.
Winston Churchill, Prime Minister and leader of England during WWII. (Yousuf Karsh)
November 28 - December 1, 1943
The "Big Three", leaders of the Allies, Churchill (UK), Roosevelt (US) and Stalin (USSR) at the Tehran conference.
Adolf Hitler, visiting Paris. (One curious little fact, did you know that Adolph Hitler was an artist? Maybe if he had gotten into art school none of this ever would have happened. Just goes to show, even the most infamous and cruel dictator of the century can paint beautiful, peaceful scenes.)
Invasion of Normandy, code name Operation Overlord. Allied troops moving in on D-day at Omaha beach.
June 6, 1944
Invasion of Normandy, code name Operation Overlord. Allied troops moving in on D-day at Omaha beach.
June 6, 1944
Invasion of Normandy, code name Operation Overlord. Allied troops moving in on D-day at Omaha beach. An interesting story about this photo (and the other 11 photos that survived). The photographer, Robert Capa, who swam with the soldiers to the beach, took 106 photos but due to a darkroom mistake only 11 survived. (Robert Capa)
October 20, 1944
Battle of Leyte, General Douglas MacArthur walking to shore. The Battle of Leyte was part of the Pacific campaign to gain control of the Phillipines.
Children in Auschwitz concentration camp rescued by the Red Army.
Holocast victims at the Ebensee, Austria concentration camp. (Samuelson)
May 8, 1945
Winston Churchill pronouncing VE day (Victory in Europe).
February 19, 1945
The Battle of Iwo Jima, where the USA fought against the Japanese to win control of two airfields on the island. This photo, taken by(Joe Rosenthal), is of 5 Marines and one Navy Corpsman raising the US flag on Mt. Suribachi. Joe Rosenthal later said, when asked about his photo, "I took the picture, the Marines took Iwo Jima."(Joe Rosenthal)
I'm sorry. I had to. Albert Einstein shows that genius' can have a sense of humor. In all seriousness, Albert Einstein was one of the many scientists in the race to create the atomic bomb. (Which you should know if you've ever watched 5 minutes of any history program on tv.)
Crew of the Enola Gay, which dropped "Little boy" on Hiroshima.
August 6, 1945
The Hiroshima atom bomb went off at 8:15 Hiroshima time. (I love this photo. <3 )
August 9, 1945
Atomic bombing of Nagasaki, which led to the Japanese surrender.
August 14, 1945
Sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square after the president announced VJ (Victory over Japan) day. Apparently the photographer was taking photos when he saw a sailor running around kissing every woman in sight. He took a picture of the man kissing a nurse. It is one of the most famous photos shown by LIFE magazine. (Alfred Eisenstaedt)
A mother and her child in the desolate landscape of post-bombed Hiroshima Japan. (Alfred Eisenstaedt)
"The right photograph shows the shadow made by the heat rays. This place is about 800 meters from the hypocenter, and the unshielded asphalt surface was scorched, whereas the surface shielded by the handrail appears to be a whitish shadow."- (This is a direct quote from a website I found.)
AFRICAN-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT - Ever since the end of the Civil War, African-Americans, while free, still were discriminated against in many ways. This movement, lead by Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Debois and others, gradually led to the US outlawing racial discrimination. (Please note this overlaps with JFK's Presidency and the Moon landing.)
FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHER: Flip Schulke and Various
Flip Schulke was a LIFE photographer who photographed many famous people, including JFK, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and Jacques Cousteau. Unfortunately, the miracle Wikipedia does not have any information on him, but luckily, I happen to own his book.
Various: Many of these photos are taken by other people.... Yeah.
February 22, 1956
Rosa Parks being fingerprinted for organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott (she and other African Americans had started this boycott because of the unfair and unequal treatment in Montgomery buses after Rosa was arrested for sitting in "white" seating on a bus.)
December 21, 1956 Rosa Parks celebrates Supreme Court ruling that segregation is illegal on buses by sitting in the front of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
September 4, 1957
Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who first entered the newly unsegregated Little Rock School. The group had to be escorted in by the army because of the violent protests (Sep. 25). The girl shouting is Hazel Massery. (Will Counts)
Ruby Bridges, the first African-American student to enter all-white William Frantz elementary school, is escorted to school. Her father lost his job because of it, and many parents removed their children from the school when the 6yr old started attending. Only one of the teachers would teach her, and no other students would be in the same classroom with her. Also portrayed in Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With”.
June 15, 1963
Myrlie Evers mourns at her husband’s funeral. Medgar Evers was a African-American civil rights activist who was shot at his home in Jackson, Miss., by a member of the Klu Klux Klan. (Flip Schulke)
ONE GREAT LEAP FOR MANKIND - The Space race between the USSR and the USA to place the first man on the moon. We won. ;) I apologize sincerely if the dates here are wrong... some sources claimed different dates. (Please note this overlaps with JFK's Presidency and the American Civil Rights Movement.)
FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHER: NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) - An agency of the government concerned with outer space.
Buzz Aldrin saluting with the US flag on the moon.
July 20, 1969
Buzz Aldrin on the moon.
11, February 1984
Bruce McCandless II outside US Space Shuttle Challenger.
So, I hope you've enjoyed my presentation of American Photographers over the ages. My sources included Wikipedia and whatever books I happened to have lying around the house: Witness to Our Times (Flip Schulke) by Flip Shulke, America through the Lens by Martin Sandler (I didn't use this book very much, fyi), and Restless Spirit (Dorothea Lange) by Elizabeth Partridge. And, of course, thank you to the countless websites I pulled photos from.
I'm a homeschooled teen, I own and care for around 30 chickens and 10 ducks.Oh, and my mom just got goats. I also have 3 siblings (2 brothers, 1 sister), who mostly get along with the other animals. Wait, oops, did I say OTHER animals? *giggle* I meant, of course, each other. I'm a Christian (and that means I believe in Jesus Christ and have trusted on him as my Lord and Savior, believing that he was God's son, and that died for our sins and was raised from the dead on the third day. ). Oh, and I DON'T have a yellow hat. :)