After the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane (later the Willard Psychiatric Center) closed in 1995, the New York State Museum received an unusual donation: 427 suitcases, dating from the 1910s to the 1960s, which had belonged to patients who died while institutionalized. Photographer Jon Crispin has undertaken a project to photograph their contents. [more inside]
The Last Pictures. In Billions of Years, Aliens Will Find These Photos in a Dead Satellite. Interview with artist Trevor Paglen (previously).
"When the lights go out for good, my people will still be here. We have our ancient ways. We will remain."
In the Shadow of Wounded Knee. Along the southwestern border of South Dakota is one of the most poverty-stricken places in the United States—the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota people. After 150 years of broken promises, they are still nurturing their tribal customs, language and beliefs. Via [more inside]
The argument over whether photography should be considered an art form seems laughable to us today. Yet, beginning in the 1880s and lasting into the 20th century, members of amateur photographic clubs and societies the world over deemed the topic of artistic photography worthy of a decades-long shouting match. PhotoSeed, representing an evolving online record of this early fine-art photography movement, is a rich collection of photographs representing numerous vintage processes. From delicate platinum to exquisite hand-pulled photogravures, images produced singularly or published in portfolios and journals, as well as vintage source material, investigate the roots of the online galleries with the PhotoSeed Highlights.
Exploding bombs frequently caused so much vibration of photo enlargers that prints blurred and had to be remade
The Pacific War Photographs of Pfc Glenn W. Eve — "In the summer of 1942, the U.S. Army called up a skinny California boy barely out of his teens. But at 5’9’’ and 125 pounds, Private Glenn W. Eve was deemed unfit for combat. He might have spent the duration of World War II at a desk, except that he had field skills the Army needed – he was a gifted artist, draftsman and photographer who'd spent the previous four years working for the Walt Disney Co. In July 1944, they promoted him to private first class (Pfc) and assigned him to the Signal Photo Corps, bound for the Pacific to document the war. This is his collection, never before published. All comments in quotes are Pfc Eve's, written on the back of the photo."
It's one of the best-known photographs in US history, but the fearless steelworkers dining al fresco in "Lunch Atop a Skyscraper" have remained anonymous in the 80 years since it was taken. A new documentary. Men At Lunch, tells the story of the photo and identifies two of its subjects for the first time.
Epic Gallery: 150 Years Of Lesbians And Other Lady-Loving-Ladies (Some pics slightly NSFW) "Honestly before tumblr it was difficult to find very much lesbian imagery at all online — it was always the same ten or twelve stock photos — let alone pictures of lesbians taken prior to 2000. I wanted to see an evolution of our community, how we'd grown and changed over the years — and not just in a montage of famous out actresses and models, but pictures of actual people, pictures of women who were active in the community — regular human beings, writers and social activists."
Wiki Loves Monuments: "World's largest photo contest" seeks to create a visual record of world monuments and historic sites on the Wikimedia Commons. The USA version focuses on sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Canadian version here. If you don't see your country among the 30 participating so far, you can volunteer!
In my unending search for just the right vintage images for our articles, I have looked through thousands of photographs of men from the last century or so. One of the things that I have found most fascinating about many of these images, is the ease, familiarity, and intimacy, which men used to exhibit in photographs with their friends and compadres. Male Affection: A Photographic History Tour
Mugshot Yourself: Meet 1864's greatest rogues, then become one yourself. Try your face on different mugshots, and add the best of them to Copper's growing collection of New York's most notorious. Con men, petty thieves, prostitutes...Oh, and you.(via BBCAmerica)
Since 2009, a thread on the Skyscraper Page forums has been dedicated to trawling for old photos and stories of Los Angeles, mostly from the LA Public Library and USC Archives. Thousands of posts have accumulated into a fascinating portrait of the city. [more inside]
Rio Wang has posted a fantastic 1892 photo album of Russian army fashions.
Photos of Rhodesian military vehicles taken between 1979 and early 1980 with a Kodak Instamatic.
These Americans is an historical photo narrative with such gems as "Photobooth", "Last Prisoners Leave Alcatraz", Dorothea Lange:"Internment", and the very sexy "Tally Ho". *Nudity and other possibly offensive photos for some*
NYC's Department of Records has officially announced the debut of its photo database, releasing 870,000 photos of the city and its operations to the public. Here are some of the best ones. Here is the link to the gallery itself (though good luck getting in right now). [more inside]
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities. So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams -- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest and most fabled of ballfields that saw its first major league game played one century ago today. As a team in flux hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off against the New York
Highlanders Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter of demolition not too long ago. Now legally preserved, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides, bursting with history, idiosyncrasy, record crowds, and occasional song. [more inside]
Frida Kahlo produced art that was self-reflecting — 55 of her 143 known paintings were self-portraits. A cache of her 6,500 personal photographs was unsealed in 2007, and a small selection of those -- 259 total images -- are now on display in an exhibition entitled "Frida Kahlo: Her Photos," at the Artisphere in Arlington, VA until March 25th. Images: Washington Post, WJLA and NPR. PBS: Interview with exhibit curator Pablo Ortiz Monasterio. [more inside]
Earth in perspective:
- Stratocam takes the most beautiful landscape satellite photographs from Google Maps, as voted on by visitors, and switches them every few seconds, with a fullscreen mode.
- ChronoZoom is an interactive, zoomable HTML5 timeline of the entire history of the universe, from the Big Bang to Homo Sapiens, with embedded video and lectures.
"Much of the history of Black people, particularly our intimate history, is still unseen and unexplored." Beautifully understated, The Black Vernacular is a communal memorial to this history. [more inside]
There was a time when we were one of the worst, if not THE worst prison systems in the country. How we got there was simple. It was money. “When I first drove up to the gate in the summer of 1971, my dog was with me in the car. I drove up to a little shack with a guard. The guard was wearing a pistol and I realized he was a prisoner. The only people I saw carrying guns were convicts.” - Photographer Bruce Jackson
If you have a taste for a certain flavor of North American, 20th century rebelliousness, you may enjoy a photo blog called The Acid Sweat Lodge. Contains some NSFW images. And lots of bad-assery.
Teenage bicycle messengers carried messages around American cities in the early 20th century, including red light districts. Social reformer and photographer Lewis Hine documented their lives in image and text.
The Bedouin are an ethnic group of tribes that live in the deserts of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Sinai Peninsula, amongst others. The Bedouin have lived a largely nomadic life, developing a menu, style of dance and sport they can call their own. Today they are a culture in transition as "startling changes over the last two decades have irrevocably altered the nature of life for the bedouin and for the land they inhabit." However a glimpse into their past can be seen through this great collection of images taken between 1890 and 1920.
Vintage photographs of Toronto at night is brought to you by the same people who put out Toronto in photos from the 1850s to the 1990s, and several other sets linked within.
World War II in Photos "A retrospective of World War II in large-size photo stories. 900 photos in all, over 20 chapters, telling many of the countless millions of stories from the biggest conflict and biggest story of the 20th century." [via mefi projects] [more inside]
"Three months later, the seven youngest children were sent to an orphanage. The family was never reunited."
"Family working in the Tifton Cotton Mill. Mrs. A.J. Young works in mill and at home. Nell (oldest girl) alternates in mill with mother. Mammy (next girl) runs 2 sides. Mary (next) runs 1½ sides. Elic (oldest boy) works regularly. Eddie (next girl) helps in mill, sticks on bobbins. Four smallest children not working yet. The mother said she earns $4.50 a week and all the children earn $4.50 a week. Husband died and left her with 11 children. Two of them went off and got married. The family left the farm two years ago to work in the mill." [more inside]
East Village photographer and all-around good guy Bob Arihood passed away last week. Bob chronicled the struggles and changes of the Tompkins Square Park neighborhood in photographs both online in his blogs, Neither More Nor Less, and Nadie Se Conoce , sold pictures and columns to the New York Times, and was often found on 7th St and Avenue A, in front of Ray's newstand, hanging out with a wide assortment of local characters. He documented the lives and experiences of the folks most people attempt to pass without making eye contact. He knew all their names and their stories. [more inside]
After the Final Curtain: Photographically documenting neglected and abandoned theaters throughout the United States. [via]
It's probably too late to take your Hasselblad aboard a Space Shuttle, but if the opportunity arises, read the Astronaut's Photography Manual (PDF) and you might capture photos like this one. Previously.
The secretive NRO celebrated 50 years of spying from space with a one-day surprise public exhibition of a just-declassified KH-9 Hexagon "Big Bird" imaging satellite. Between 1963 and 1986, a constellation of KH-7 Gambit, KH-8 Gambit 3, and KH-9 Hexagon satellites, all revealed after a half-century of secrecy, returned high-resolution film exposures of Cold War targets from orbit by parachute.
Ana Lee's fashion blog is in Russian but with its insane number of HQ photographs [don't forget to click the "далее"], you won't care. For example, her two posts about Carol Alt almost certainly comprise the greatest documentation of that model's career to be found anywhere in the world.
Woodward Avenue through the years. A historical photo gallery of Detroit's Main Street.
Still, Expo is regarded as the best world's fair ever. Its success changed the world's view of Canada, and more importantly, it changed the way Canadians viewed themselves. For the first time the country basked in the pride and the glory of its talents and accomplishments. A nation had come of age. (previously) [more inside]
The Getty Museum offers some videos of modern artisans demonstrating art techniques from the past. Don't miss the wet collodion photography process - today you can carry a camera in your pocket and look at pictures on your phone, but in 1860 you needed a horse-drawn darkroom to get those shots. [more inside]
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend. Notables: Hermann Rorschach, Almanzo Wilder, Teddy Roosevelt, Robert Cornelius. More history crushes.
"Howe snapped more than 400 photographs in Moscow and St. Petersburg with his hand held Graflex camera, a state-of-the-art device that allowed its user to shoot without a tripod. His photographs of pedestrians, street vendors and aristocrats are rare glimpses of everyday life before the upheavals of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution — and sparked huge interest in Russia among history buffs and local museums."
The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
Images of a People's Movement - more than 18 pages of photos and dozens of first-hand narratives, interviews & recollections of the 1951-1968 Southern Freedom Movement by the Civil Rights Movement Veterans. (These are just samplings - it's a deep and rich site.) [more inside]
Between 1887 and 1892, John C.H. Grabill sent 188 photographs to the Library of Congress for copyright protection. Grabill is known as a western photographer, documenting many aspects of frontier life – hunting, mining, western town landscapes and white settlers’ relationships with Native Americans.
A large chunk of the Yad Vashem Photo Archive has been made available online. The first batch consists of 130,000 photographs and more will follow. The photos and their keywords are indexed and searchable via Google. Readers can contribute to the archive project by adding stories, comments and further documents linked to the photos. Photos range from the horrific to the charmingly mundane. [more inside]
HistoricAerials.com contains a surprisingly large database of aerial photography dating back to the dawn of aviation, with a Google-Maps-like interface. [more inside]
"The Museum of the City of New York is pleased to announce the soft launch of its online collections portal [where you can] view more than 50,000 newly digitized photographs by Berenice Abbott, Samuel H. Gottscho, Jacob A. Riis, the Byron Company, the Wurts Brothers, and many others."
Faces from the Past is a blog of beautiful images of fascinating people, including Djuna Barnes, Audrey Hepburn, Louise Brooks, Sappho and Eve. [more inside]