As America huffed its way to the end of the ’70s, a change more profound than any one cultural trope’s evolutionary death knell was taking place. Perceptively distilled in a new volume of photographs by longtime National Geographic shooter Nathan Benn, Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972–1990 depicts an America of boisterous legend and vibrant regionalism, teetering on the cusp of the coming Information Age’s great cultural flattening.
Kodachrome Memory exemplifies forthright storytelling about everyday people and vernacular spaces. The photographs, organized by geographic and cultural affinities (North East, Heartland, Pittsburgh, and Florida), delight with poetic happenstance, melancholy framing, and wistful abandon. An essay by scholar Paul M. Farber contextualizes the creation and selection of these images, offering a fresh perspective about color photography on the eve of the digital revolution.