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Eureka! Picturing the Past, Today

2013 September 12

Then and Now” entries have come in from Boston, Oregon, Maine, and even outer space. California has yet to get in the game, so today’s spotlight is on the Golden State. Help us create Then and Now scenes from this part of our world. You can look up any Documerica photo or get others involved through bitly.com/DiscoverDocumerica. Documerica covered the 50 U.S. states, as well as select territories and international locations from 1971-1977. Beware, you might just think you’re back in bell bottoms.

‘Then’ is DOCUMERICA. ‘Now’ is your chance with State of the Environment. The size of this project, image diversity, and topics that emerge, depends entirely on what you share.  Our ‘Then and Now’ challenge showcases the changes in our lives and environment, but it takes your photos! Matches will be shared across EPA social media and displayed alongside the greats of the Documerica Project: Charles O’Rear, Erik Calonius, David Hiser, and Boyd Norton to name just a few.

The Documerica Returns exhibit remains on display at the San Francisco Public Library’s Wallace Stegner Environmental Center. It will be in the main library’s Skylight Gallery through October 1, 2013. Map and Directions

DOCUMERICA: U.S. #1 near the Pacific Ocean north of Malibu, California, on the northwestern edge of Los Angeles County. The Santa Monica Mountains are located nearby, the last semi-wilderness in Los Angeles County. The area is threatened with development. May, 1975 by Charles O'Rear.

DOCUMERICA: U.S. #1 near the Pacific Ocean north of Malibu, California, on the northwestern edge of Los Angeles County. The Santa Monica Mountains are located nearby, the last semi-wilderness in Los Angeles County. The area is threatened with development. Some 84 percent of the state’s residents live within 30 miles of the coast, and this concentration has resulted in increased land use pressure several commissions have been set up to restrict coastal developments and recommend future guidelines to the state legislature, May 1975, by Charles O’Rear.

DOCUMERICA: Access to Niguel Beach Park along the ocean in Orange County, is through an area that was scheduled for development, May 1975, by Charles O'Rear.

DOCUMERICA: Access to Niguel Beach Park along the ocean in Orange County, is through an area that was scheduled for development however, construction was halted when the state passed the Coastal Zone Conservation Act in November, 1972. State and regional regulatory commissions must present a finial report to the legislature by January, 1976, recommending passage of laws affecting future coastal development. Some 84 percent of the state residents live within 30 miles of the coast, May 1975, by Charles O’Rear.

Read about our chat with Charles O’Rear about this day in the field.

DOCUMERICA: Surfing Along Malibu Beach, California. 10/1972 by Erik Calonius.

DOCUMERICA: Surfing Along Malibu Beach, California. 10/1972 by Erik Calonius.

DOCUMERICA: Flowers planted around spyglass homes built on a terraced hillside [Southern California], May 1975, by Charles O'Rear.

DOCUMERICA: Flowers planted around spyglass homes built on a terraced hillside [Southern California], May 1975, by Charles O’Rear.

You can search for 1970s images in two places:

1. A selection of Documerica is available on Flickr. Check out the 1970s in:
San Francisco; California; Hawaii; Nevada; Arizona; New Mexico or click one of those and change the search field to: Documerica [your state / location / topic]

2. Search the full Documerica Collection housed by the National Archives. Search by state, landmark, year or topic within the OPA database. You will see a search page like this. Simply type in your state or key word to start searching.

Example of search results OPA Database

 

All Then and Now entries will be shared far and wide. Check out this entry from the other LA – Lewiston, Auburn, Maine:

If you have trouble finding photos, please let us know as a comment here and we will get back to you!

Enjoy, have fun, and we look forward to your contributions to this historic project.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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