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Interstate Magazine is a photographic journal of American identity, roughly modeled on the work of the Farm Security Administration of the 1930’s and early 1940’s. It aims to show Americans to Americans, capturing the diversity that forms, in the composite, the American Identity.
In the mid-1930’s, during the height of the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s Undersecretary for Agriculture Rexford Tugwell was tasked with providing social welfare assistance to American farmers in need. In addition to the inherent challenges of his program, Tugwell foresaw hostility to it from more affluent, coastal-city dwelling Americans. He understood that the non-agricultural majority of the population, influenced by the newsmedia of the time, would resist his programs. To counter the inevitable antagonism, Tugwell hired Roy Stryker to head-up a “Historical Section” of what would become the Farm Security Administration (abbreviated as the “FSA”). Stryker’s “Historical Section” was tasked with photographically documenting the people affected by work of the FSA
In present day America, worsening sociopolitical polarization creates the same “need to see others” that existed in Stryker’s FSA era. Fueled in large part by the self-reinforcing, ideological echo chambers of social media, Americans increasingly identify those with differing viewpoints in non-humanistic terms: they see them not as people with differing viewpoints, but instead as humanity-less “others”. To counter this decline, we must return to the understanding – the fundamental truth – that those we identify as “others” are not un-human, but are instead living, breathing people who simply hold views different from our own. We must start seeing “others” in this humanistic light, and not merely as a “them”.
This is the goal of Interstate Magazine to be a photographic journal that once again shows Americans to Americans.
Interstate Magazine, A Journal of American Identity is in its planning stages. If you would like more information or would like to contribute, contact me.