The ubiquitous black and white photos from the depression have a tendency to make one perceive that everyone wore clothing in drab shades of gray, and that life was a bleak visage of darkness. The accompanying downtrodden motif of the time usually reinforces that idea as a contemporary psychological construct — why wouldn’t people dress in ugly, depressing colors when the world was collapsing?— and further skews our received interpretation of the era.
Of course, in reality that’s nothing but pure nonsense, as shown in these glorious color photos from the 30′s. People dressed in vivid color, street signs exploded with pastels, and buckets of peaches were, in fact, not gray. But then again, the depression-as-uncolorful-time construct is perhaps squarely wrong as a theoretical matter: ex ante, we might presume that people would dress more colorfully in hard times, as a psychological weapon against the hardship.
In any case, it’s almost shocking to look at the photo collection. Dont’ be surprised if your initial reaction is why are those people from the 70′s wearing clothes from the 30′s and driving around in old-fashioned cars?