These mid-century snapshots are from a long-lost world

In the post-War era, the 35mm camera was the equivalent of the smartphone today. Lee Shulman’s collection of anonymous amateur photographs from the time provides insights into a familiar but long-lost world…

The British film director Lee Shulman has compiled one of the world’s largest collections of amateur photography. Founded in 2017, ‘The Anonymous Project’ archive contains more than 700,000 snapshots from unknown photographers. A small but wonderfully nostalgic selection of the photographs curated by Shulman has now been published by Taschen in the illustrated book Mid-century Memories

The private photos of birthdays, beach vacations and road trips from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s are very intriguing. It’s probably the intimate familiarity of the protagonists with the photographers which gives the images a naturalness that’s impossible to replicate in the Instagram/selfie era. And as familiar as the motifs and faded Kodachrome colours appear from our own family photo albums, the post-War period in which they were captured is now a very distant world. 

Photos: Anonym via Lee Shulman / Taschen

Lee Shulman’s illustrated book Mid-century Memories has been published by Taschen.