Flashback to 1940's: The American Life in Kodachrome


Not much was known about photographer Charles Weever Cushman, an amateur from Poseyville, Indiana. The photographer only appears in the records of his alma mater, the Indiana University. According to the school, he was once a man of law, and believed that his knowledge in commercial law would bring him success. His last wife Elizabeth Penniman described him as a shrewd individual, clever in his decision-making and acquiring tastes that life has to offer. Traveling was part of his favorites, and surely, at some point in time, Cushman went around the United States with a camera on hand.

Lagoon and Orange, San Francisco Fair Flowers, California, June 1940; Little girls at Mammoth, Arizona, May 1940;

Using the iconic Kodachrome film, Cushman left Indiana University an archive of his photographs, many of them vernacular in nature with a span of 32 years, from 1938 to 1969. His photographs from the 40's are the liveliest of the bunch, capturing many loud reds he could find in the streets.

During this time, America entered the global war, and many men were enlisted in the army, leaving the whole US economy to the rest of the citizens' hands. Women were more than ever important as they began to participate in jobs and roles no society back then would consider just to fill up the 40-hour working week.

Couple in garden of Wooded Island, Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 1944; Mother and daughter feed ducks, Jackson Park Lagoon, Chicago, Illinois, Nov. 15, 1946; Moppet poses after getting pennies, Chicago, Illinois, Mar. 2, 1941

But life goes on with everyone, even with rationed food and resources, many Americans lived life to the fullest -- going to work, building relationships, dressing up and embracing the luxury of rubber. For the boost of morale, it was during this time the first Captain America comic book was published. After the war, everyone was focused on bringing up their spirits through consummation of pop culture through movies, fashion, and sports.

Rodeo parade, Tucson, Arizona, Feb. 23, 1940; Rodeo parade, Tucson, Arizona, Feb. 23, 1940; Jewish residents of lower Clinton St., NYC, Sep. 27, 1941; Stores near corner of Broome St. and Baruch Place, Lower East Side, NYC, Sep. 27, 1941; The Flying Concellos hang out their wash at the 1941 Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus in Chicago, Illinois, Aug. 2, 1941; Three bums from South Ferry flophouses at Battery Park, NYC, Jun. 6, 1941

Images are from the Flickr Commons.

2018-04-06 #culture #street-photography #kodachrome #charles-weever-cushman


  1. _baunovart_
    _baunovart_ ·


  2. thefuturist
    thefuturist ·

    Oh, Kodachrome....

  3. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    to welcoming kodachrome movie in theatre (y)

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