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Midcentury Memories. The Anonymous Project

60Edition: Multilingual (English, French, German)Availability: In Stock
50 years ago, people used film cameras just as we use smartphones in the age of Instagram. They photographed their meals, holidays, loved ones, celebrations, and family reunions. Imagining the past lives of these strangers is the beauty and mystery of The Anonymous Project, which curates just under 300 images from this vast collection of 700,000+ Kodachrome slides. The places, dates, and people may be unknown, but the stories in these snapshots are universally familiar.
Hardcover9.3 x 12.4 in.4.94 lb280 pages
“…what this book reminds us of so vividly is that, even as technology changes, many of our habits remain the same. There are some things that are universal even as time goes by.”
The Washington Post
“Flipping through, you may find yourself yearning for a past you never experienced.”
“Heartwarming anonymous images of life in the 1940-70s.”
Evening Standard
“A snapshot of humanity – before the proliferation of Snapchat and Instagram – that delves into fascinating, universal and deeply connective stories.”
“The lost picture archive capturing the magic of amateur film photography.”
Midcentury Memories. The Anonymous Project

Midcentury Memories. The Anonymous Project


Past Lives in Kodachrome

A view into how hundreds of anonymous people documented their existence

Rewind back to the midcentury, before the age of Instagram and Snapchat, where people were using 35mm cameras loaded with color film to document both monumental and mundane moments in their lives. They took pictures of their loved ones, their vacations, their celebrations. They memorialized the births of babies; a child in a cowboy outfit; a new color television set; sightseeing in National Parks; fishing trips; lazing on the beach; weddings; office parties; family reunions; holding hands, kissing and dancing. Imagining these lives and the possible stories that lie behind the images is what makes The Anonymous Project such a compelling journey into our past. The passing of time is enhanced by the book’s narrative that begins with scenes of early childhood and ends with seniors, with all the stages of life in between.

It all started with an innocent purchase on eBay. Filmmaker Lee Shulman bought a set of 35mm Kodachrome slides—anonymous family photos—and was so taken with what he calls “the emotional value of these slices of life” that he knew he had to have more. He launched The Anonymous Project in 2017 and has since acquired around 700,000 images either by donation or via vintage sellers. As noted photography critic Richard B. Woodward writes in the introduction: “It is significant—and fascinating—that in virtually every image here, photographer and subject seem to know one another. In this embracing album of humanity, no one exists in isolation. There are no strangers here.”

This curated collection of just under 300 images taken between the 1940s and ’70s offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of these anonymous subjects. The locations, dates, and the subjects may be unknown—but these shots taken by skilled amateur photographers, and the fascinating stories they contain, are universally familiar.
The editor

London–born Lee Shulman is a graduate of the University of Westminster. He is an award-winning film director working in advertising and music videos. In 2017, he founded The Anonymous Project, which has become one of the most important collections of amateur photography slides in the world. The work has been exhibited in Paris and Milan and will be presented this year at the prestigious Rencontres D’Arles Photography Festival in France.

Midcentury Memories. The Anonymous Project
Hardcover23.7 x 31.6 cm2.24 kg280 pages

ISBN 978-3-8365-7584-3

Edition: Multilingual (English, French, German)
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13 Ratings

The Anonymous Project: an extraordinary catalogue of lives

Salvatore,November 7, 2021
What began as a pastime, developed to turned into a singular full-time undertaking. The Anonymous Project appears as a catalogue of the best pictures that Lee and Emmanuelle Halkin have accumulated from all over the world from the 1950s onwards, making a real storytelling of lives, personal even though its subject anonymity. Over 800,000 slides, that create a monumental unique work, wherein every image establishes an emotional connection with the observer as miniature masterpiece.

Memories of unknown people yet so recognisable

Steven,November 3, 2021
Memories of unknown people yet so recognisable. This beautiful collection of memories gives you a view on life from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Highly recommended if you want to disappear in thoughts of the past.

Un projet impressionnant!

Soline,November 3, 2021
Véritable témoignage des années 50, le livre "Midcentury Memories" permet de se plonger dans l'époque révolue où on prenait des photos avec un appareil jetable, où on fumait à l'intérieur et où les enfants jouaient à l'extérieur. Une collection impressionnante d'images dans lesquelles toutes et tous peuvent y retrouver des souvenirs.

True Kodachrome!

Eric,October 28, 2021
Fantastic book! In a world of digital with so many people trying to emulate the look of film, especially Kodachrome, nothing can compare to the real thing. Additionally being able to appreciate the photographs without a well known name attached to them that could influence me - images by amateurs standing on their own and just as good.

All good

Julien,October 27, 2021
Quality and delivery on point