Jennifer Greenburg's photos of people who live like they are in the 1950s


TIL that some white people really miss the `50s.


I know someone like that. I photographed her once. I wonder if she’s in the book.


Since broadcast TV has gone digital, wouldn’t watching TV be impossible on a 1950’s set, which would decidedly be analog, without introducing some 21st century adapter technology?

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I think some of them want to “do it right, this time,” rather than resurrect every aspect of the 50s.


I have considered original rockabilly (as practiced in the fifties, at least) as the punk rock of the time. It was an outlandish style of dress and music that annoyed the authority figures.

These days, it’s an ossified retro style, similar in concept to that worn by Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn.

How times change.


Yeah, my Dad grew up in the 50’s. He sure has some stuff to say about girls with all “those marks all over themselves”.


It’s all fun and games until somebody gets polio.


Punk rock is an ossified retro style, now, too.


Those people must be a bunch of health nuts or something. Only two of the subjects were smoking cigarettes, and one of those went outside to do so. I bet there wasn’t even an ashtray in that baby’s bedroom.


I was wondering if they installed separate water fountains for the coloreds and have segregated schools.

These people don’t seem to like the 50s so much as as the whitewashed image of the 50s. Sort of like living in a Normal Rockwell painting.


What parts are being optimized in the linked gallery?

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most likely there are exceptions there is a DVD player in one of the shots.

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I guess there’s no harm in that as long as you don’t pretend the historical reality was just as rosy. It’s possible to enjoy a renaissance faire without thinking it’s all well and good to marry off your pre-teen daughter as part of a real estate deal.


Not sure I follow. Can you elaborate?

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I take it you don’t go to a lot of renaissance fairs.


It’s possible to live part of this life without being in a time warp. I have a good quantity of lovely fifties decor and gizmos in my house as a result of visiting too many estate sales in the eighties, and I drive a two-tone 1958 Chevy. But I also drive my wife’s Prius. The Chevy, a faded, daily driver station wagon, mostly takes us to Burning Man.


The stage play “Maple and Vine” explores a similar idea, in 2012 A.C.T. in SF had an enjoyable production. A stressed-out contemporary New York couple (Japanese husband, European wife) decide to try living in a (very) gated community called the “Society of Dynamic Obsolescence”, where everyone lives like it’s 1955. Residents remain “in character” at all times, and exert strong social pressure to stay away from topics that didn’t exist in 1955 - “What’s foccacia bread?” asks one housewife brightly. Troubling encounters with restrictive gender roles, race relations, and taboo sexuality are balanced by the pleasures of an (idealized) simplicity and slower pace - but is it worth it?

So. . . I wonder what the standards are for birth control and legal abortion?

That’s hilarious! You are kidding, right?