The Hardscrabble Side of America, in Previously Unseen Photos from the 1970s - Atlas Obscura
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The Hardscrabble Side of America, in Previously Unseen Photos from the 1970s

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When Jesse Pollock, founder of Unpiano Books, published a collection of his father Arthur Pollock’s pictures in 2011, he was merely scraping the surface of the elder Pollock’s oeuvre. Arthur spent many years traveling around New England and the Midwest as a news photographer, and now works as a photo editor at the Boston Herald. The book featured 200 images from an archive of more than 10,000, taken over a 30-plus year career. 

The images, of major news events and small candid moments, predate today’s digital street photography—yet somehow feel completely contemporary. Demand for Arthur Pollock’s sly historic photos was high enough for his son to make a second volume of work, AP2, released for the 2015 NY Art Book Fair. 

Jesse let Atlas Obscura pick a selection of his father’s pictures that revolve around small towns and urban decay. Shot around Wisconsin, Indiana, and the New England states, these photos capture a different side of America. Take a look:

Pride’s Crossing - Beverly, 1980.  (All photos:  © Arthur Pollock)

Watermelon Championships - Pardeeville, 1971.

Kennedy Avenue - Highland, 1976. 

Teacher Strike - W. Siville, 1975. 

Miss Nude America - Roselawn, 1975. 

Mill Worker - Lowell, 1977.

Democratic National Convention - Miami, 1972. 

Downtown - Lowell, 1977. 

Truck Driver - Hammond, 1975. 

Art’s Drive-In - Whiting, 1975. 

Bar Room - Lowell, 1978. 

Construction Workers - Hammond, 1975. 

Fall - Lowell, 1978. 

Construction Workers – Lowell, 1978. 

Lotte’s Flower Shop - Madison, 1971. 

Prisoner Transport - Leominster, 1980. 

Polka Dancing - Burnham, 1975. 

City Hall Biker Protest - Lowell, 1977. 

Barbershop - Lynn, 1985. 

Pizza Shop - Chelmsford, 1978. 

Downtown - Hammond, 1975. 

Pawtucket Boulevard Midway - Lowell, 1980.

Abe’s Donut Shop - Syracuse, 1975.

Mill Worker - Lowell, 1977. 

Group Home - Syracuse, 1975. 

Incinerator Fire - E. Chicago, 1975.