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Smoke and gas from the burning of discarded automobile batteries pours into the sky near Houston, Texas, in July of 1972.

DOCUMERICA chronicles the ailing environment of 1970’s America. These images are pretty insane. Only 40 years after Ansel Adams went around photographing the wild beauty of America, the photographers of Documerica were going around photographing our reckless expansion and how we were interacting with the changing environment. The result was a stunning collection of over 80,000 images, 15,000 of which have been made available by the National Archives. You wanna know why we’re in the boat we’re in now, look no further than this collection of 47 of the photographs. They’re not so much depressing as an incredibly interesting snapshot of the collective mentality at that period in time. Ok maybe they’re slightly depressing.

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