Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Documerica Project # 2 - Photographs by David Hiser

This is my second showcase for some of my favourite photographs from the Documerica Project - this time featuring the work of Photographer David Hiser.


For the Documerica Project (1971-1977), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired freelance photographers to capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life in the 1970s. The U.S. National Archives digitized more than 15,000 photographs from the series, and they can now be seen online.

David Hiser was one of nearly one hundred photographers hired for DOCUMERICA.

David chose his areas of coverage for his DOCUMERICA assignment, intentionally picking areas familiar to him. His photographs capture the striking landscape of America's Desert Southwest.

Hiser's photographs of Michael Reynolds' "beer can" houses in Taos, New Mexico, document positive innovations in recycling and reuse of common discarded materials to construct Earth-friendly homes.


Here are a few of my favourites from David Hiser's set, along with the original captions.
You can view last months Documerica Project Photographs by Marc St. Gil here.

Mrs. Albers and Her Husband Run the One Remaining Store in Grand Valley. As It Became Unprofitable to Own and Operate Small Ranches the Towns of the Piceance Basin Faded. Mrs. Albers Holds a Photograph of the Store That Was Taken in 1900, 07/1973

Photography in Arches National Park, in the Heart of the Redrock Country of Southeastern Utah. To the South Is the Colorado River and the Picturesque Old Mormon Pioneer Town of Moab, 05/1972

A Hiker in the Maze, a Remote and Rugged Region in the Heart of the Canyonlands. In These Wild Sections There Are No Trails, and the Explorer Must Rely on Map and Compass. Previous Experience Is Necessary; Water Is Scarce, the Terrain Unforgiving and Help Is Sometimes Days Away. But the Rewards Are Great, and Many People Feel That This Is the Only Way to Truly Experience the Canyonlands, 05/1972

One of the Joys of a Long Hiking Trip in the Desert Is the Chance to Relax and Do as You Please. Here Steve Miller Enjoys a Nap in the Sunshine and Crystal Air of the Maze, a Wild and Beautiful Region in the Heart of the Canyonlands Where Steve and His Group Are Backpacking, 05/1972

The Painted Bus Is Home, 10/1972

Empty Steel Beer and Soft Drink Cans That Litter the Countryside Could Become a Sight of the 
Past If the Experimental Houses Built from Them near Taos, New Mexico, Become Popular.

Empty Steel Beer and Soft Drink Cans Were Accumulated from a Variety of Sources near Taos, New Mexico, to Be Used in Building Experimental Houses. Because 70,000 Cans Are Needed to Build One Structure, the Can Manufacturing Industry Is Watching with Interest.

Examples of Wall Construction in Experimental Housing Using Empty Steel Beer and Soft Drinks Cans near Taos, New Mexico. Non-Load Bearing Walls Can Be Laid Horizontally and Will Be Plastered over When the House Is Completed. Exterior and Load Bearing Walls Use Eight Can Blocks Wired Together and Will Be Plastered over When the House Is Complete. 

Completed Picture of the Experimental All Aluminum Beer and Soft Drink Can House near Taos, New Mexico. It Took About 70,000 Cans to Complete the Two Story Structure. the Cans Were Laid Horizontally in Two Thicknesses, Separated by a Vertical Sheet of Foa.

Documerica Photographer, David Hiser, at Dead Horse Point, 05/1972


  1. Great photos! I wonder if the Beer and Soft Drink Can House is still standing near Taos. I'll have to check that out.

    1. Hi Dana! I wondered that too! I'll do some Googling.x

  2. WOW they appear so surreal, the light! Great post! ;)


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...