These outstanding color photographs of the World War II era were made possible through Kodachrome, a color film introduced to the public by Kodak in 1935. Kodachrome was one of the most popular films used for high quality portraiture and photojournalism up until a few years ago, when production was halted due to the dwindling demand of film photography (in favor of digital photography).
The images here were taken under the supervision of the Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information which took a visual census of the US from the time of the Great Depression up to the War, and included some notable photographers such as Dorothea Lange and Gordon Parks. Many of these images are also from the same collection used for the Bound for Glory exhibition featured on this blog a few months ago.
Shorpy.com is a photo blog dedicated to high quality old photographs from the beginnings of photography in the 1850s to the nostalgic golden age of the 1950s. The site is named in honor of Shorpy Higginbotham, a child laborer photographed by the legendary Lewis Hine.
Over the years, the website has grown in terms of the number and quality of its images, which include personal photographs from its members. Although the blog is mostly dedicated to old black-and-white photographs, some more recent color pictures are allowed due to their quality.
While some of these photographs are obviously posed or staged, it that doesn't detract from the beautiful quality of the reproductions; they still offer insightful information into the fashion and technology of the time while still being aesthetically beautiful.
It's unfortunate that these types of images can no longer be emulated, not only because of the change in times, but also because of the discontinuation of Kodachrome. That only makes these pictures even more unique, knowing that they belong to an era that now exists only in print.
There's more glorious old Kodachrome color photographs over at the Shorpy website. They have a gallery dedicated to Large Format Kodachromes, but don't forget to search with the keyword "Kodachrome" to include user-submitted photographs. For hardbound editions, you can try Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939-43, Kodachrome: The American Invention of Our World, 1939-1959 and Americans in Kodachrome 1945-1965.