Florida is easily associated with that heavenly panorama: the sea, the horizon with the sun on high, skies with only the most impressive clouds, and a privileged climate. This is hardly accidental. Since the Spanish colonization of the Americas, it was believed that this peninsula held the Fountain of Youth, long sought by explorers.

Beyond the natural features though, Florida’s history recounts an important chapter in 1970s urbanization, a period of great prosperity in the United States and one which resulted in a kind of exodus to Florida of people seeking a better quality of life. These were especially the elderly and retirees seeking better health conditions and those simply migrating to a warmer region, at sea level, and one that represented an early expansion into a more financially accessible region.

Though it was but the first phase of a population shift, early circumstances weren’t ideal. That’s evident in these photographs shot by Flip Schulke, a professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Along with his students, Schulke documented the daily life of the Florida Keys between 1971 and 1977.

Schulke realized this work under a commission from the Documerica project of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which was collecting visual evidence of potential environmental problems at the time. His photographs reveal a reality at stark odds to the Floridian paradise we may imagine. It’s an unexpected mix of half-built buildings, a few even in ruins and then, on the other hand, people and their urgent needs to adapt to life even under these conditions.

The contrast is often amazing; a Garden of Eden as yet, “under construction.”

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Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape

Landscape

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Florida is easily associated with that heavenly panorama: the sea, the horizon with the sun on high, skies with only the most impressive clouds, and a privileged climate. This is hardly accidental. Since the Spanish colonization of the Americas, it was believed that this peninsula held the Fountain of Youth, long sought by explorers.

Beyond the natural features though, Florida’s history recounts an important chapter in 1970s urbanization, a period of great prosperity in the United States and one which resulted in a kind of exodus to Florida of people seeking a better quality of life. These were especially the elderly and retirees seeking better health conditions and those simply migrating to a warmer region, at sea level, and one that represented an early expansion into a more financially accessible region.

Though it was but the first phase of a population shift, early circumstances weren’t ideal. That’s evident in these photographs shot by Flip Schulke, a professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Along with his students, Schulke documented the daily life of the Florida Keys between 1971 and 1977.

Schulke realized this work under a commission from the Documerica project of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which was collecting visual evidence of potential environmental problems at the time. His photographs reveal a reality at stark odds to the Floridian paradise we may imagine. It’s an unexpected mix of half-built buildings, a few even in ruins and then, on the other hand, people and their urgent needs to adapt to life even under these conditions.

The contrast is often amazing; a Garden of Eden as yet, “under construction.”

.

Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape Landscape

Landscape

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