John Vachon, photographer, Farm Security Administration

Photos of The Great Depression

John Vachon 1942 John Vachon in 1942

Like most FSA photographers, John Vachon (1914-1975) was often allowed to deviate from his assignments and just follow his instincts about where to go and what to photograph. Here is an excerpt from an interview he gave to the Smithsonian in 1964.

“Well, of course my preparation was that I knew what kind of things I wanted to see and photograph. Just knowing what was needed, and what was lacking in the file. We didn’t have enough pictures of South Dakota, so [Stryker] let me stay in South Dakota for a while…I was gone a long time on that trip, I think about four months, maybe a little longer, and I had maybe half a dozen ports of call, that is, a project or a county supervisor who had done something special. But apart from going to those particular places, I was free to drive around…

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