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1941, In Color!

Posted on 28 May 2016

When I was a kid my father told me that color (as in the spectrum) wasn't invented until 1957. I believed him for a while. Looking at old photos and films, it does look like another world. I personally find it hard to relate to black and white photographs. It's hard to immerse yourself in the world of a photo when you are forced to guess as to what color that world is in. Thats not to say that I don't love black and white photos. It's just they don't offer the same perspective as a color photo. 

I came across this color film by H. Lee Waters in the Duke University Archives. It was taken in 1941, documenting some of the townspeople of Kannapolis, North Carolina. What makes it particularly interesting is that first of all it is a rare color film, and second, it documents everyday life in a small American town. It's interesting watching workers flowing out of a factory in their bright blue overalls, and ladies shopping in floral dresses. If at first it seems a bit slow, consider how rare it is to get such a clear snapshot of averageness from this era. 

Check out the full archive here

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