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Daily Picture Show

From Sea To Shining Sea

Photography has come a long way since 1940. At that time, fine-art photography was entirely black and white — the content usually either landscape or portrait. But nowadays, when the rules of photography are a lot less stringent, there's something to be said for the classic simplicity of landscapes.

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It may seem strange that these spectacular images were commissioned by the U.S. government. They're from the same Works Progress Administration/Farm Security Administration project that we featured a few weeks ago. But it was with this government funding that some of the most renowned American documentary photographers got their start.

Woody Guthrie's lyrics to "This Land Is Your Land," as well as those to "America the Beautiful" — really seem to resonate in this collection. From California to the New York islands, here's a view of how America looked around 1940 — in color. All images courtesy Library of Congress via Flickr Commons.