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Photographers You Should Know: George W. Ackerman

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Information for this article came from the U.S. Archives
George W. Ackerman was one of the many U.S. government-employed photographers who made images during the Great Depression. Ackerman started with the Bureau of Plant Industry for an annual salary of $900.

Unlike his peers, Ackerman’s photographs often depicted farmers utilizing modern farm machinery and the modern advances that had come to the U.S. agriculture community. He traveled the nation, documenting how farmers labored. Many of his peers during the Depression often focused on the poverty and difficult conditions many rural people faced, yet Ackerman showed hope in his images by focusing on the positive things that were happening in rural America.

'Farm Family Listening to Their Radio.' (Photo Credit: George W. Ackerman, August 15, 1930 National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Extension Service)

'Farm Family Listening to Their Radio.' (Photo Credit: George W. Ackerman, August 15, 1930 National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Extension Service)

Ackerman said he tried “to paint the rural scene as I saw it, modern and up-to-date in many respects.”

During his tenure in federal service, Ackerman made an estimated 50,000 photographs during his 40-year career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many of which appeared in private and government agriculture publications. Often, those images were not credited to him.

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