The tagline for the These Americans website is “American Art, History and Culture Through Pictures” and, while this image of “Bobo the Clown and Boy (1951)” portrays the selflessness and compassion that embodies the American spirit, the website does tend to highlight some of the more colorful aspects of the Home of the Brave. Take, for example, their gruesome collection entitled “American Lynching” that contains photos featuring crowds of smiling white folks (including children) squeezing into frame around bare-chested black men tied, hung by their necks and often burned.
Just glance at the sub-menu navigation buttons and you’ll get an idea of just what types of art, history and culture pictures are in store: FSA, slavery, mug shots, lynching, Los Angeles, child labor, civil rights, studio, death, civil war, injury, racism, native american, prison, guns, war, great depression, exteriors. That’s quite a list of keywords for one website and yet it doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of tagged photos found here. In addition to what appear to be fortuitous thrift store/garage sale acquisitions (Polaroids & snapshots), you’ll find works by such accomplished photo-documentarians as Weegee, Dorthea Lange, Walker Evans, Bernice Abbott and Ben Shan, just to name a few.