Charles Cushman's America
By all outward appearances, Charles Cushman was like any typical, hard-working guy. He worked for many years as an administrator at various government jobs, as well as at a brewery. But when he died in 1972, he bequeathed around 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to his alma mater, Indiana University. As archivists poured over the immense collection, they discovered not only a body of work by a skilled photographer with a deft touch, but also masterful portraits of America and the world.
Charles’ interests were all encompassing. His portfolio included glamour shots of women in bikinis, landscapes of mountains and valleys, images of paintings and museums, as well as more journalistic photos, like street photography of dirty hippies in San Francisco. His eye didn’t shy away from upsetting scenes: Many of his images show brutal poverty, both in the US and abroad. From 1938 to 1969, Charles obsessively documented his travels, and his 31-year diary is a treasure.
His massive photo collection is now entirely cataloged and available online. We saved you the ten-plus hours it would take to go through all of the images and picked out the best ones. Make sure to check out the snapshots of New York City (McSorley’s has not changed at all). You can also see the whole collection here.