The Documerica Project began in the early-1970s after the start of a national movement to clean up the environment, and after President Nixon directed the US government to form the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency.) Over one-hundred photographers were hired by the Agency to document instances of air, water, and ground pollution for study and to serve as a future reference. The lead image taken in 1973 by Dick Swanson contains crushed vehicles in a scrap yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Automotive salvage yards and metal recycling operations that had vehicles and machinery on the premises that were broken down to salvage parts or to reclaim scrap metals were targeted due to oil, gasoline, antifreeze, lead and mercury being released into the environment.
To learn more about the Documerica Project read and view photos our earlier post: Project Documerica – 1970s EPA Automotive Junkyard Images. All photos are courtesy of the National Archives.
- Henderson, Nevada “Auto Dump” photographed by Charles O’Day in May of 1972.
- A second image taken in 1973 by Dick Swanson containing crushed vehicles in a scrap yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Gaede’s Wrecking Yard in Bernalillo, New Mexico, photographed by Danny Lyon in April of 1972.