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November 2, 2015

Beautiful Kodachrome Images Show What the U.S. Was Like in the 1970s and 1980s

As America huffed its way to the end of the '70s, a change more profound than any one cultural trope's evolutionary death knell was taking place. Perceptively distilled in a new volume of photographs by longtime National Geographic shooter Nathan Benn, Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972–1990 depicts an America of boisterous legend and vibrant regionalism, teetering on the cusp of the coming Information Age's great cultural flattening.

Nathan Benn embraced color photography before it was considered an acceptable medium for serious documentary expression, traveling globally for National Geographic magazine for two decades. In revisiting his archive of almost half a million images, and editing his photographs with a 21st-century perspective, he discovered hundreds of unpublished American pictures that appeared inconsequential to editors of the 1970s and 1980s, but now resonate—in beautiful Kodachrome color—with empathic perspectives on everyday life in forgotten neighborhoods.

Collier County, Florida, 1981.

Palm Beach, Florida, 1981.

Cape Canaveral, Florida, 1981.

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee, 1983.

Miami, Florida, 1981.

Pittsburgh, 1990.

Pittsburgh, Fourth of July, 1990.

Pattison, Mississippi, 1973.

Miami, Florida, 1981.

Miami, Florida, 1981.

Helena, Arkansas, 1983.

Hannibal, Missouri, July 3, 1976.

East St. Louis, Illinois, 1977.

Natchez, Mississippi, 1983.

New Orleans, 1983.

Key West, Florida, 1981.

Cohocton, New York, 1976.

New Haven, Vermont, 1973.

Pittsfield, Vt. 1973.

Cleveland, Mississippi, 1973.

Natchez, MS, 1983.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Orlando, Florida, 1981.

St. Petersburg, Florida, 1981.

Winona, Minnesota, 1976.

Cohocton, New York, 1976.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1990.

(Images © Nathan Benn)


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