"Photographic activity flourished in America in the 1930s during the Great Depression, and the genre of documentary emerged as a mode of understanding contemporary event," say the curators of the museum's American Modern exhibit, in Galleries 1-4 through May 15. "At the same time, advances in technology, production, and distribution transformed mass media in this country: Americans enjoyed weekly picture magazines, radio broadcasts, and popular movies in unprecedented numbers. Photography played an especially critical role in contemporary culture, appearing in books, newspapers, and magazines as well as being accorded exhibitions in art museums and galleries."These works are also documented in the book American Modern: Documentary Photography by Abbott, Evans and Bourke-White. "Well-written essays reveal the dark mood and deeply political roots of the documentary style and focus on each artist's journey," says Shutterbug.