DOCUMERICA: Images of America in Crisis in the 1970s

As the 1960s came to an end, the rapid development of the American postwar decades began to take a noticeable toll on the environment, and the public called for action. In November 1971, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency announced a massive photo documentary project, called DOCUMERICA, to record the adverse effects of modern life on the environment. More than 100 photographers were hired not only to document specific issues, but to capture images showing how we interacted with the environment. By 1974, more than 80,000 photographs had been produced. The National Archives recently made 15,000 of these images available, and I've spent much of the past week combing through those to bring you these 46 glimpses of America in the early 1970s, with an eye toward our then-ailing environment.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • P. Medicus / Getty

    Travel Monday: A Photo Trip to Socotra

    Off the coast of Yemen, in the Arabian Sea, lies the isolated Socotra Island, where hundreds of plants and animals have developed into unique species.

  • The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library / Ricardo Thomas

    Photos From State Dinners Past

    As the Trumps prepare to host their first state dinner on Tuesday, a look back at state dinners held by past U.S. presidents, from Eisenhower to Obama.

  • Hannah Mckay / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Newborns, Chocolate Hills, Teacher of the Year

    A baby visits the U.S. Senate floor, Boston Marathoners end up miserably wet, orca whales hunt seal pups in Argentina, Israel celebrates its independence day, and much more.

  • ESA / Copernicus Sentinel Data

    The Megafire Burning in Oklahoma

    In western Oklahoma, a region suffering through a harsh drought, several wildfires have recently broken out, including the Rhea Fire, a “megafire” which has burned more than 260,000 acres.