Capturing the "Real"
Images published in Survey Graphic differed, sometimes markedly,
from the idealistic images published in many mainstream media publications
in the 1930s. 
The editors of Survey Graphic chose to publish
photographs of migrant families and the unemployed at a time when the
editors of New Yorker filled their pages with photographs of
wealthy men and women at social gatherings. "In no other decade," Stott
claims, "was the American press so out of step with its audience." 
Survey Graphic offered an alternative
vision of America, one shaped by the philosophy of its editors, and
by the social documentary work of Hine, Van Loon, and the FSA photographers.
"Pageants Out of Problems"
The magazine's overall outlook was positive. "We have made pageants
out of problems," noted Paul Kellogg at a banquet dinner celebrating
twenty years of Survey Associates. 
The Kelloggs did not restrict articles and images
to those about hard times in America. The magazine frequently published
articles and photo essays about positive aspects of life in the 1930s.
Kelloggs admired the government's numerous arts projects and published
photo essays on music and theater productions, including one on the
musicians behind the Emergency Relief Bureau concerts (August
1935). There were also numerous collages of Federal Arts Project
murals such as John Steuart Curry's "The Last Frontier" (April
Some of the more uplifting images of the FSA photography
unit received attention in "American Faces" (February
1939). The Kelloggs also published many of Lewis Hine's work portraits,
which emphasized more positive aspects of work in American industries
Using documentary writing and photography, the editors, writers, and
artists of Survey Graphic presented a portrait of America that
demonstrated their faith in social planning, their commitment to public
education, and their interest in the human variety that made up the
nation. These commitments are evident in the stories they published
and in the photographs they selected to accompany them.
University of Virginia
 Lawrence W. Levine, "The
Historian and the Icon: Photography and the History of the American
People in the 1930s and 1940s," in Documenting America, 1935-1943,
eds. Carl Fleischhauer and Beverly W. Brannan (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1988), 33.
 James Guimond compares
and contrasts thirties hard-times images and idyllic images
of the American Dream in American Photography and the American
Dream (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press,
 Stott, 78.
 Paul Kellogg, "People
Like Ourselves: A Forecast for Survey Graphic," Survey
Graphic, November 1935.