ARTSY: Captain Trips & His Dog Toto

Hitchhiker with his dog, ‘Tripper,’ on U.S. 66. Yuma County, Arizona, May 1972. (Charles O’Rear/National Archives)

“Searching for the Seventies” now showing at the National Archives in D.C. (through September) showcases 90 remarkable photographs taken for a Federal photography project called Project DOCUMERICA (1971-1977) funded by, get this, the Environmental Protection Agency. To document a decade that saw the flowering of environmental consciousness — when people finally realized we’re not living on a rock but a living thing — the EPA sent a phalanx of professional photographers out across the fruited plain, following in the footsteps of the depression era Farm Security Administration photography project: document the people and the land and their often unsustainable if not toxic intersections. It’s pretty much how I remember the 70s as a young boy, kinda like a PBS documentary with lots of hippies and enough pollution to make an Indian cry. MORE