35 Amazing Black and White Photographs Showing Street Scenes in America During the 1930s

John Gutmann (1905-1998) was one of America’s most distinctive photographers. Born in Germany where he trained as an artist and art teacher, he fled the Nazis in 1933 and settled in San Francisco, reinventing himself as a photo-journalist.

In the America of the 1930’s, Mr. Gutmann found an exuberant car culture, a dizzying array of billboards and graffiti, a racially diverse citizenry, music and dancing in the streets and young women galore. He photographed them all.

Early drive-in restaurant, Hollywood, 1935
Artillery on Market Street, San Francisco, 1934
Street Musicians, New Orleans, 1937
Man Walking by Clown and Lady Graffiti, San Francisco, 1939
High ride, 1937
Texas Women, Texas, 1937
Selling Apples: No. 1 Broadway, New York, 1936
Kids Reading Comics, San Francisco, 1938
Automobiles Parked at the beach, Oregon, 1934
Death stalks the Filmore, 1939
First Drive-in theatre, Los Angeles, 1935
Pop Advertising, San Francisco, 1939
Bicycle of a Mexican Barber, San Antonio, 1937
A portrait of Count Basie, San Francisco, 1939
“Cash for your car”, San Francisco, 1939
National Guard tanks, San Francisco, 1934
Elevator Garage, Chicago, 1936
Out of the Pool, San Francisco, 1934
Cord in Harlem, NY, 1936
Bare Back, San Francisco, 1939
Reach, San Francisco, 1938
Warriors, Harlem, 1936
The Lesson, Central Park, New York, 1936
Tee-Peeing the Vieux Carré, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, 1937
Lunch hour, San Francisco, 1934
The Cry, 1939
National Guard on the truck, San Francisco, 1934
Man in a hurry, New Orleans, 1937
The Fleet is In, San Francisco, 1934
“Yes, Culumbus did discover America”, San Francisco, 1938
Omen, 1934
Wyoming car, 1936
Majorettes in Parade, California, 1939
Class (Olympic High diving champion Marjorie Gestring), San Francisco, 1936

(Photos by John Gutmann)

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