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Images of unknown provenance
October 12, 2007 5:46 PM   Subscribe

*M*I*R*R*O*R* *W*O*R*L*D* Photographs Of Unknown Origin [NSFW]
posted by tellurian (86 comments total) 130 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow! This is a real treasure trove of images, tellurian! Fantastic. Handsomely done site, too. Thanks so much for this great post.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:50 PM on October 12, 2007


I have to comment twice, here. This is the best collection of old photographs I've ever seen anywhere.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:53 PM on October 12, 2007


Seconded, blown away by these photos. What a lovely idea.
posted by Surfyournut at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2007


Fascinating, thanks.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2007


Each of these pictures could inspire a novel. Thanks.
posted by blahblahblah at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2007


The one of the tall skinny woman in a man's suit on the streets of Paris is a not-so-old Helmut Newton fashion photo. Just sayin.
posted by tula at 6:00 PM on October 12, 2007


This is wonderful.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:11 PM on October 12, 2007


Wow.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:12 PM on October 12, 2007


I'm just getting "error 999"...looks like it's borked.
posted by SassHat at 6:12 PM on October 12, 2007


Sorry, Unable to process request at this time -- error 999.
posted by Poolio at 6:12 PM on October 12, 2007


That was quick.
posted by rhapsodie at 6:15 PM on October 12, 2007


Seems to be back up now.
posted by Poolio at 6:16 PM on October 12, 2007


Marvelous photographs! Great find. Best of the web quality. What a treasure! They're each so different, one a bombed landscape, one an hilarious dog flying across with a romantic looking gentleman behind, the next some bizarre nutcase type, decapitated statues in a decaying building. Found photographs have been done before but not of this caliber......almost a sensory overload of strange beauty.
posted by nickyskye at 6:18 PM on October 12, 2007


I recognize a couple of the images. They look totally different juxtaposed against scrapbook finds and detectives' snapshots, though.
posted by ardgedee at 6:20 PM on October 12, 2007


wow! amazing picutres. And I like the music too, interesting stuff there...
posted by kolophon at 6:20 PM on October 12, 2007


I have a sneaking suspicion that some of those photographs were taken at Geiger's place, corner of Laverne Terrace and Crest Drive. [This is good.]
posted by steef at 6:25 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


borked

Which is a shame.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:28 PM on October 12, 2007


Wow, the comments in the thread are totally making me jealous that the site seems to be down. Sucks to be late to the game, I guess.
posted by jonson at 6:34 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


We need a mirror of mirror world, ironically. Until it's back up, Google Images has some of the images from the site.
posted by pb at 6:37 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if the site is down or the images are purposefully broken and everyone's just being sarcastic.
posted by flatluigi at 6:37 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, the comments in the thread are totally making me jealous that the site seems to be down. Sucks to be late to the game, I guess.

This is the kind of site that you'll want to go to several times and more, jonson, so I recommend you just favorite the post and wait awhile, til the MeFi deluge of hits is over, then pay it a visit. It really is a fabulous collection, worthy of repeated viewings for sure.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:43 PM on October 12, 2007


The one of the tall skinny woman in a man's suit on the streets of Paris is a not-so-old Helmut Newton fashion photo. Just sayin.

From the link at the top: "If you know anything about any of the photos on the following pages that would prevent their inclusion here, let me know, would you? Especially any copyright issues, though I suppose just knowing the source of a photo would technically prohibit it's inclusion in a site dedicated to images of unknown provenance, hm? Anyway..."
posted by Hubajube at 6:52 PM on October 12, 2007


It's back up, for the time being.

And, lordy, the experience is worth returning.
I'm mentally writing back-story for each of the images now burned into my frontal lobe. I'm also considering printing them out and hanging them as a long strip in my stairwell (wee rollers on either end, to simulate the scrolling experience) and accompanying it with the soundtrack....
posted by squasha at 6:53 PM on October 12, 2007


Some pretty striking photos there. Nice find.
posted by dazed_one at 6:57 PM on October 12, 2007


Borked for me, as well.
posted by ericb at 6:57 PM on October 12, 2007


Sorrowful and haunting, despair for dreams and futures unrealized.

In a distant future someone will feature a presentation of found digital images and yours will be among them. Which will it be?
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:59 PM on October 12, 2007


This was very impressive up until I started getting 999'd, so I did some research, and apparently error 999 is when Yahoo decides they hate you and your links-from-another-domain?

I don't get any 999s when I use this Yahoo search.
posted by blacklite at 7:00 PM on October 12, 2007


Without a doubt the coolest collection of photos I've ever seen.
Big, big thanks, or as the kids say, big ups to tellurian.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:00 PM on October 12, 2007


Stunning.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:05 PM on October 12, 2007


Post of the year. Love it! Thanks.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:09 PM on October 12, 2007


These photos, with that music, on that site = awesome.

These photos hung, at random, in a 12 x 12 room with peeling paint and a bare, swinging lightbulb, with that music playing = pretty much exactly what I picture a serial killer's abode to look like.
posted by quin at 7:09 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


One of them is a picture of Manfred von Richthofen.

The face shot most of the way to the bottom of the guy with the big cigar is tantalizing me. It seems as if I should recognize him. My first take was that it's "Buster Keaton". But I'm not really convinced of that.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:22 PM on October 12, 2007


uh, I never said I had a bare, swinging bulb in that stairwell....
posted by squasha at 7:23 PM on October 12, 2007


Wow, not only does it play sound on loading, but all the images are broken! Amazing!
posted by puke & cry at 7:29 PM on October 12, 2007


If you go in through Google Image Search, you can get the image galleries.

This is the closest thing to capturing that late night adolesence finding something different. I really appreciate this.
posted by khaibit at 7:32 PM on October 12, 2007


puke & cry: how about you wait a bit and reload before shitting into the thread? you would make less an ass of yourself that way.

I wished there was an rss feed for that page.
posted by kolophon at 7:32 PM on October 12, 2007


Wow, not only does it play sound on loading, but all the images are broken! Amazing!

Man, that is one fucked website. Ironic how Mirror World could use a mirror.
posted by phaedon at 7:34 PM on October 12, 2007


Unbeknownest to most fans, Billy Corgan learned music from John Cleese.

I keep wanting to caption all of these.
posted by blacklite at 7:35 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


puke & cry: how about you wait a bit and reload before shitting into the thread? you would make less an ass of yourself that way.

I tried reloading. I also turned on referrers thinking that was the problem. Then I turned on scripting and found that lovely on load music, not mentioned by the poster by the way. When I see that combined with a page full of broken image links, my reaction isn't going to be a good one. But hey, the coral cache link works.
posted by puke & cry at 7:42 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heh heh. That was a good one, blacklite.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:00 PM on October 12, 2007


It's been said, but wow.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:09 PM on October 12, 2007


Just last night I was thinking about how we could be the last generation to leave printed photos behind that are uncaptioned, untagged, devoid of context, and slowly deteriorating. Viewing such photographs is so much more a visceral experience... in many ways, I hope this encourages people to never abandon the analog in favor of the digital.
posted by krippledkonscious at 8:31 PM on October 12, 2007


My wife drags me around Estate Sales here in and around Portland, (house owner dies, everything gets sold off...) and there's nearly always a box of photos "uncaptioned, untagged, devoid of context, and slowly deteriorating" that captures the life of the departed. I always find them irresistible and haunting. But I never take them- it always feels like stealing part of their soul.
posted by marvin at 8:54 PM on October 12, 2007


Each of these pictures could inspire a novel.

Ha. I knew what that link was gonna be before I put my mouse over it. Well done, blahblahblah.
posted by neuron at 9:14 PM on October 12, 2007


Hey y'all, here's the site maker's MySpace page, a kind of portal page for the M*I*R*R*O*R* *W*O*R*L*D site proper.

And the lovely music on this site (same as on the MySpace page) that several here have comented on is called "Spiegel im Spiegel" by the estimable Arvo Part.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:22 PM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


I always find them irresistible and haunting. But I never take them- it always feels like stealing part of their soul.

I dunno marvin, you might be giving their souls a new life, a new place to dwell, by keeping and treasuring the image. Just a thought.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:25 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


So maybe I'm just a sucker for the Kol Nidre, but thanks for this.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:30 PM on October 12, 2007


Wow! I mean, I was all wow before looking at the page, but coming across this picture of Russian Futurists, probably taken to commemorate Victory Over the Sun, just blew me away. What a vivid slice of history! I've immersed myself in the avant-garde world of the early 20th Century, but I don't remember a group picture that was this... immediate... that wasn't just illustration but told a story in and of itself.
posted by Kattullus at 10:15 PM on October 12, 2007


missing comma between "before" and "looking"

suprematism don't need none of your punk shoo aysh unnn

posted by Kattullus at 10:34 PM on October 12, 2007


music and more (YT)
posted by sluglicker at 11:06 PM on October 12, 2007


This guy looks curiously similar to a german singer with blonde hair and big-ass glasses that I saw on a site featuring horrible album covers a couple of years ago.

What was his name? Arvo? Mannfred?
Damnit, I can't remember.

Anybody know who I'm talking about?
posted by isopraxis at 11:24 PM on October 12, 2007


Bogoróditse Djévo (Old Church Slavonic for "Rejoice, Mother of God") was commissioned in 1992 by King's College Choir, Cambridge, for their annual carol service. Here it is performed by the Pro Arte Singers, conducted by Paul Hillier. It is the first track of the album I am the True Vine, released by Harmonia Mundi in 1999. The album was recorded at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, and at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, England, throughout 1998.

Beginning of Ode I of the Kanon Pokajanen. Released by ECM Records in 1998 on a 2-CD set, the Kanon Pokajanen was recorded at the Niguliste Church in Tallinn, Estonia, in June 1997. It is performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste.
posted by sluglicker at 11:27 PM on October 12, 2007


Thought I'd focus my attention on some seeming known-unknown pictures, if you will, rather than tackle the whole lot.

This is a Robam Apsara dancer. The photo was taken in Phnom Penh; says so on the photo. I can't make the rest of the letters/ numbers out; that could possibly mean something.

The same girl appears in this group-photo, along with the rest of her entourage. To her side, is someone with a Hanuman mask; that they're holding hands could possibly mean that they'll be dancing together later. In which case, she's probably playing the Souvanna Machcha, Hanuman's mermaid crush in the Ramakien, the Khmer version of the Ramayana. In fact, a quick googling shows up the same girl on Wikipedia as well, but this time with her tail-fin.

The two dancers next to them will, of course, be playing together. I suspect it'll be Robam Tep Monorom, the dance of the devas. The girl with shoulder-flaps will be playing the devata, and the girl next to her, his celestial consort.

The dancers of the King are preparing for the dance, the description reads in French, and then confusingly has a "Paris, July 1906" scribbled on top. So was it Paris or Phnom Penh? I was thinking it was Phnom Penh, and that Paris is probably where someone found the photo or something. But now I'm not so sure; for as now I recollect, Cambodia's royal artisans were touring France at about that time.
posted by the cydonian at 12:39 AM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


isopraxis; you're thinking of Heino.
posted by jouke at 12:52 AM on October 13, 2007


This guy looks curiously similar to a german singer with blonde hair and big-ass glasses that I saw on a site featuring horrible album covers a couple of years ago.

What was his name? Arvo? Mannfred?
Damnit, I can't remember. Anybody know who I'm talking about?, sort


Yup, sure do. It's Heino you're thinking of. Not to be confused with this Haino from Japan, though the pronunciation is basically the same.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:55 AM on October 13, 2007


Hey, I would've beat jouke to it without that one extra link I just had to include...

But I think a Heino meets Haino duo concert would be 17 flavors of wicked.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:57 AM on October 13, 2007


woulda coulda flap.
posted by jouke at 1:03 AM on October 13, 2007


jouke, check it out:

shoulda woulda coulda!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:04 AM on October 13, 2007


I love the mystery of these archives - they just invite you to dream up a story behind each one
posted by alexanderj at 1:21 AM on October 13, 2007


Great site! These images are almost identifiable (if you're given to that kind of thing). The very top photo is snow clearing in the Rogers Pass. Or maybe Breakheart Pass. Richtofen, sure, and is one of those pig-stickers Richard Burton? The guy with the cowboy hat in the field is David Byrne, for certain.
posted by CCBC at 1:33 AM on October 13, 2007


So, when did people start smiling for the camera? Go through Flickr, and everyone's grinning like loons. Are we happier? Were our great grandparents more serious? Mass insanity?

Agreed about this site, though. Captivating. And I hate, hate, hate sites that play music in the background, without exception. Except this one.

R
posted by Devonian at 4:29 AM on October 13, 2007


My WTF Meter overloaded, caught fire and exploded somewhere around the middle of the first page. The soundtrack couldn't have been more appropriate.

I wish I could have recorded my stream of consciousness while I looked at these, and wish I had them printed out as a book I could carry with me to show the less fortunate.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:02 AM on October 13, 2007


The terrific song on the last page seems to be called Guardian Angels. Anyone know any more info about it?
posted by sharksandwich at 5:20 AM on October 13, 2007


Brilliant, nice find.
posted by twistedonion at 5:48 AM on October 13, 2007


I always wondered where the Stones got this idea for Voodoo Lounge artwork. Now I know. Cool.
posted by punkfloyd at 6:25 AM on October 13, 2007


Oops, I mean this idea specifically.
posted by punkfloyd at 6:27 AM on October 13, 2007


Amazing.
posted by wg at 6:44 AM on October 13, 2007


I was thinking this all reminds me of the art design in Bioshock and the I saw this one.
posted by autodidact at 6:49 AM on October 13, 2007


Fantastic. If anyone's curious, the one with the guy leering at the nun from a car is labeled "Temptation" in Russian and credited to "Jaroslav Valenta (Czechoslovakia)."
posted by languagehat at 6:55 AM on October 13, 2007


The terrific song on the last page seems to be called Guardian Angels. Anyone know any more info about it?

It's by Pearls Before Swine. Here is a review of the album.
posted by effwerd at 7:17 AM on October 13, 2007


Page three is playing Sept Ans Sur Mer from A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings. Page one is playing Kol Nidre. My favorite song featured on this site is Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Romance de Nadir). The music is the perfect complement to the fantastic photos. I just love this kind of stuff.

I hope he gets his wish and gets a grant to run around and find as much of this stuff as he can.
posted by effwerd at 7:25 AM on October 13, 2007


The site is temporarily disabled now so I can't remember which page I found it on but another good one is Zeimbekiko Aivaleotiko by George Macreyannis from Rembetica - Historic Urban Fold Songs from Greece.
posted by effwerd at 7:42 AM on October 13, 2007


Nice images.

Most have been electronicly harvested. Many are from the book Anonymous: Enigmatic Images from Unknown Photographers by Robert Flynn Johnson. Many of the others are from Ebay auctions that were won by other people. Nick from Square America owns one of the photographs featured on the site.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:54 AM on October 13, 2007


Yes. Heino. I knew somebody would know.
posted by isopraxis at 11:34 AM on October 13, 2007


Site temporarily disabled. Shit.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:03 PM on October 13, 2007


mr_roboto says what I was just about to say... and then Mister Roboto by Styxx comes on the radio.

...AAAUUGGGHHH
posted by tehloki at 12:28 AM on October 14, 2007


It's still bjorked. (sp?)

Square America, though, (as mentioned just above by Bighappyfunhouse) has a new set up from s wild wild party... So, inadvertently, I got my anonymous photo on anyway.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:56 AM on October 15, 2007


If you set your referer to yahoo.com, it will work.
posted by Tobu at 10:38 AM on October 15, 2007


So, essentially Yahoo is saying to MetaFilter that they won't let you visit the site. Why would they do that?
posted by tellurian at 4:01 PM on October 15, 2007


Most likely it's just a method for throttling traffic so they can reduce their bandwidth costs. I'm sure it's completely automated once the site hits a certain amount of traffic.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:13 PM on October 15, 2007


If that's the case mr_roboto, how come some other users are saying that they can access the site using some subterfuge. If you can 'throttle traffic' by saying only people that can access the site through Yahoo isn't Yahoo saying 'you can only access the site through us', (Caveat: I don't use firefox so I'm assuming it works for the people that are using that extension; Google cache doesn't work - I just get a crucifixion shape of blue question mark boxes [how apt] with the music; same with the coral cache from puke & cry - nada), well quite frankly, I don't know what throttling is.
It's been several days now and I'm still getting "Site Temporarily Disabled" and this happened within half an hour of me posting it.
Adding tag [brokenlink]
posted by tellurian at 7:01 AM on October 17, 2007


Yeah, it just cuts down the number of people who can access the site. Reduces the total amount of traffic. I don't think it's personal, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:24 PM on October 18, 2007


And, hee hee, it's back.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:25 PM on October 18, 2007


So it is. Shhh!
posted by tellurian at 12:45 AM on October 19, 2007


Removing tag [brokenlink].
posted by tellurian at 12:47 AM on October 19, 2007


sweet
posted by sushiwiththejury at 11:36 AM on October 20, 2007


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