It’s impossible to not dream of setting off on a long road adventure while perusing the archives of the late John Margolies. Known for his photographs of America’s vernacular architecture, Margolies spent over three decades driving more than 100,000 miles with his eyes alert for strange sculptures, dynamic signs, and structures fast-disappearing from today’s landscape, from mom-and-pop shops to drive-in movie theaters. His journey culminated in the photo book, John Margolies: Roadside America, published in 2010, which presents a sweeping portrait of the nation through its roadside embellishments. While Robert Frank showed us the often aching realities of the United States in the 20th century, Margolies gifted us with all its weird and its wonderful.
And quite literally, too: in a generous gesture, he placed all his work in the public domain. Now, a little over a year after his death at the age of 76, the Library of Congress has digitized and uploaded the more than 11,000 color slides from his archives so they are more easily accessible. The effort is part of what curator Micah Messenheimer described to Hyperallergic as the Library’s “longstanding commitment to digitizing materials that exemplify American lives and experiences.”
You can read and see much more at Hyperallergic.