Assembling B-25 bombers

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Artist Statement

 

While Alfred T. Palmer was with the Farm Security Administration, later the Office of War Information, he focused on industry in wartime. Here we see the construction of North American B-25 Mitchell bombers in a warehouse in Kansas City. The B-25 served on nearly every front of World War II and after the war, remained in service across four decades.

 

Alfred T. Palmer | See All Editions

 

Alfred T. Palmer was an American photographer, notable for his images of men and women working in factories during World War II.

As a young man, Palmer traveled around the world as the official photographer on several different cruise lines. When he returned to America, Palmer set out across America documenting everything that captured his interest. Around this time, he was chosen to head the photography department of President Roosevelt's Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Their goal was to rally and inform citizens about the use of their tax dollars via vividly captured photo stories. Palmer developed his gritty style on these assignments, capturing the geometry of mechanical form with the emotional range of men and women at work.

This eventually led him to the Office of War Information and later the Farm Security Administration. Palmer’s emphasis was on the typical American hard at work on the home front. His photographs were also an integral part of the campaign to change the public attitude toward women joining the work force. He showed women as patriotic, glamorous, and capable, working on fighter planes as well as assembly lines. Palmer also focused on the dedication and dignity of the black labor force and worked with the chief of the News Bureau Negro Press.

Palmer’s belief in promoting the strength of the people permeated his entire career. His works were praised for their symbolic power, conveying the courage and determination that Roosevelt sought to arouse in the nation. Alfred Palmer passed away in 1993, leaving a legacy of photographic work.

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