Interstate Magazine is a photographic journal modeled after the FSA photographic work of the 1930’s and 40’s.
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 usual challenges of a program like his, Tugwell foresaw a countervailing hostility from affluent, coastal-city dwelling Americans. He understood that this 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 benefiting from the work of the FSA, or, in Stryker’s own words,
to tell the rest of the world that here is a lower third, and that they are human beings like the rest of us. . . . they are human beings.
The FSA “Historical Section” was thus tasked with showing Americans to Americans, to allow Americans of different socioeconomic and geographic groups to see – not just read about -- “other” Americans, and in so doing, to humanize them.
Interstate Magazine is roughly modeled on this ground-breaking FSA work. It is intended, in its own small way, to counter the pernicious sociopolitical polarization eroding American society. It aims to do this by once again showing America to Americans, revealing the diverse tapestry of American person and place, and in so doing reconnecting all Americans to our shared, collective identity.