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May 2, 2017

Many Photographs From the Great Depression Were ‘Killed’ With a Hole Punch. Why?

That’s one way to deal with photos you don’t like...

During the Great Depression in the U.S, the government had a role in creating the “golden age of American photography” by paying some of the best photographers to document the country. While many iconic shots emerged, other shots that weren’t as good were “killed”... with a hole punch.

According to Mashable, the black hole is the handiwork of Roy Stryker, the director of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documentary photography program. He was a highly educated economist and provided his photographers with extensive research and information to prepare them for each assignment. Stryker was determined to get the best work possible out of his employees — which also made him a bit of a tyrannical editor.

When the photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein returned with their negatives, Stryker or his assistants would edit them ruthlessly. If a photo was not to his liking, he would not simply set it aside — he would puncture the negative with a hole puncher, “killing” it.

(Images: Library of Congress, via Mashable/Retronaut)



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