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Midcentury Memories. The Anonymous Project

Hardcover, 9.3 x 12.4 in., 4.93 lb, 280 pages
US$ 60
Multilingual Edition:
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.

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 contributor

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
Hardcover, 9.3 x 12.4 in., 4.93 lb, 280 pages
ISBN 978-3-8365-7584-3
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German
France 1900

France 1900

US$ 200
Japan 1900

Japan 1900

US$ 200
America 1900

America 1900

New edition, only US$ 70
Original edition US$ 200
Save US$ 130
Germany 1900. A Portrait in Colour

Germany 1900. A Portrait in Colour

New edition, only US$ 70
Original edition US$ 200
Save US$ 130
Midcentury Memories. The Anonymous Project
Midcentury Memories.
The Anonymous Project
US$ 60
Midcentury Memories. The Anonymous Project