History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

30 January, 2013

World War One in the Snow

As if the trenches of World War One weren't bad enough the rest of the year, there was winter to contend with. Soldiers were constantly out in the snow, ice, and generally damp conditions, with little to no extra clothing. Very few British soldiers were even allocated gloves. Though official World War One photographs such as these were generally intended to present the front in the best possible light, there really isn't any way to gloss over this kind of cold misery.

From the National Library of Scotland.

National Library of Scotland

Soldiers in a trench "where bombs take the place of snowballs", as the original caption puts it. Source

National Library of Scotland

Soldiers crossing an icy ditch on the way to the trenches. Source

National Library of Scotland

A working party spattered with snow. Source

28 January, 2013

Daguerreotype Views

Though daguerreotypes were hugely popular for portraits that was hardly the limit of the medium. Photographic outdoors certainly brought challenges--things moved in long exposures, a lot of equipment had to be carried around, and not all colour wavelengths translated onto the plate equally--but, then as now, people wanted pictures of things. Today a selection of daguerreotypes focused not on people, but on places.

You can see many more (which I can't share here) in the online galleries of the Daguerrian Society.

Library of Congress

Niagara Falls, [1853-60], created by the studio of Matthew Brady. (Note: daguerreotypes, being direct positives, reverse the scene left to right, like a mirror). Source

Library of Congress

The Entrance to Independence Square, Philadelphia [1840-1856].  Source

Library of Congress

Portsmouth Square, San Francisco [before 1851]. Source

26 January, 2013

Young Love in Japan

Photographs of young couples in Japan, 1958, shot by photographer John Dominis for LIFE (though unpublished, as far as I can tell).

John Dominis, LIFE © Time Inc.

A couple looking at tree blossoms. Source

John Dominis, LIFE © Time Inc.

A coffee house date. Source

John Dominis, LIFE © Time Inc.

Strolling in Tokyo. Source

25 January, 2013

New and Improved!

First all I want to thank my dear followers for your patience through my erratic posting! As usual I'll say (and try) that I'll be on some kind of regular schedule soon... I want to be! I'm over 300,000 page views now and I can't believe that. Thanks to everyone for comments and follows and likes and shares-- still as exciting now as when it started!

Two innovations:

1. The Passion of Former Days now has a domain name! annakrentz.blogspot.com will still direct you, but so will the shiny new formerdays.com. Spiffy, no? 

2. The Passion of Former Days now has a Facebook! I'll post every post there as well as the odd link and perhaps some photos from my ever-growing personal collection. Hooray! 

New post tomorrow, but for now, well, what's a post without pictures? Here's a few snapshots from my collection for fun!

21 January, 2013

Iceland in Former Days

With all the incredible institutions on the Flickr Commons, it's easy to overlook some of the smaller ones. Luckily, this means that it's also easy to dip in and find all sorts of new stuff every time. Today's example is the Reykjavik Museum of Photography (Myndavefur Ljósmyndasafnsins in Icelandic), with a small but striking collection of pictures of Iceland in the early 20th century. Some very striking photographs of a striking country. 

Despite all the information in the captions being bilingual, the actual titles are only in Icelandic for the most part. I've followed the lead a dear follower took on an earlier Icelandic caption here and put them into Google Translate... then tried to figure out what that mess of words actually means. If anyone speaks Icelandic, do share! 

Pictures all from glass plate negatives by photographer Magnús Ólafsson, about whom no more information is given, unfortunately. 

Reykjavík Museum of Photography

Geyser, 1900-1920. Source

Reykjavík Museum of Photography

A sheep in front of a sod barn, 1902. Source

Reykjavík Museum of Photography

Children playing on the ice, 1910-1915. Source

01 January, 2013

Aeroplanes Aloft

Photographs of WWI airplanes in the air, including tricks and antics that the young pilots were encouraged to do. These are from an American aviation training field in Texas, 1917-18. I think most of the planes are training models but I've no idea, if anyone has expertise do share!

The San Diego Air and Space Museum recently uploaded a whole heap of WWI photos, mostly aviation related--they're not in very good condition but there's an incredible variety.

San Diego Air and Space Museum

San Diego Air and Space Museum

San Diego Air and Space Museum

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