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Over 400 rarely or never-seen photographs of a vanished America.
Long Time Coming is derived from the 145,000 photographs made between 1935 and 1943 by a team of now-famous photographers employed by the Farm Security Administration (FSA), whose ranks included Arthur Rothstein, Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans. We are all familiar with the iconic images of poverty that are usually associated with the project. The agency's mission, however, went well beyond photographing dispossessed rural people, and this book is proof. It includes 410 remarkable images made in large cities (including New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha, and Pittsburgh) as well as dozens of small towns and villages throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. These are images that have rarely been seen—some twenty percent have never been published before—images that present a portrait of a vanished America, a visual record of everyday existence that enhances and enlarges our assumptions about the era. Setting the pictures in context, Michael Lesy's iconoclastic, groundbreaking text intercuts excerpts from primary and secondary sources (some given as "assigned reading" to the project photographers) with an extended look at Roy Stryker, the FSA's controversial director. It presents the FSA photographs in a very different light from the bleak vision to which we are accustomed.