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 May, 2013

Tiger Cubs of the 1940s

Nothing dramatic or insightful today, just the LIFE version of Zooborns. This adorable series captures newborn tiger cubs being cared for by Mrs. Martini, the wife of a Bronx Zoo keeper, after their mother wouldn't nurse, 1944. 

Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

Tiger cub in the hallway. Source

Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

Tiger cub trying to climb a couch. Source

Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

Mrs. Martini feeding a bottle to a tiger cub. Source

28 May, 2013

Airplane Art II

We've had a look before at some of the adornments airmen gave to their planes during World War Two; however, these photographs, whether taken by official government photographers or photojournalists, were intended for publication. Since it was the 1940s, well, quite a lot couldn't be published. When you take a look at the personal photographs of aircraft artwork, well-- the picture is a lot more colourful! 

Snapshots from the collection of the San Diego Air and Space Museum. 

San Diego Air and Space Museum

San Diego Air and Space Museum

San Diego Air and Space Museum

26 May, 2013

Friends of the Civil War

As we've seen before-- and as you can see with even the briefest visit to the Library of Congress's holdings-- photographs of soldiers during the Civil War were very popular. After all, this might be first, only, and/or last time one of these men might be able to get his picture taken. With that in mind, I find it striking how many of these men wanted that picture to be with a friend. It's especially touching how they made sure to display the affection they felt for one another, with arms on shoulders, linked arms, and even held hands (the mid 19th century was a lot less uptight about displays of male affection, perhaps surprisingly). 

Ambrotypes and tintypes, 1861-65.

Library of Congress

Private Reggie T. Wingfield and Private Hamden T. Flay in Confederate uniforms. Source

Library of Congress

Soldiers in Union shell jackets. Source

Library of Congress

Sergeant Robert Black and Private Herman Beckman in Union uniforms. Source

20 May, 2013

A Good Book

People reading in a variety of circumstances, through a variety of decades.

© IWM (D 2943)

Men read books from street-side shelves, London, 1941. Source

Thomas McAvoy, LIFE © Time Inc.

A sailor reading a comic book in a gun-lined room aboard the USS Doran, 1942. Source

Nina Leen, LIFE © Time Inc.

A woman reading on a ouch with a Coke, 1952. Source

18 May, 2013

Cats and Dogs

As regular visitors to the blog know, I love old pictures of pets almost as much as people in the past loved taking pictures of them. I have just heaps sitting around waiting to be shared. Today, a small start on that!

I couldn't decide whether to post cats or dogs... so here's both!

Alfred Eisenstaedt, LIFE © Time Inc.

Dog walkers in Central Park, NYC, 1964. Source

Library of Congress

A woman with a "smoke Persian" cat, c. 1910. Source

Ralph Crane, LIFE © Time Inc.

A Siamese cat nuzzling poet Rod McKuen as he plays a record, San Francisco, 1967. Source

16 May, 2013

Portraits from the Cockpit

We've seen some of the photographs WWI era pilots took of each other's planes whilst aloft; today, the photographs they took of each other in the air! A lot of these are taken by the pilot of the other guy in the plane (usually an instructor, as all are from training airfields), though a few are from the other guy of the pilot. I think these are amazing. I love the fact that these (very) young guys took cameras up into the air to take pictures of each other. I love that they did this despite the fact that these cameras (probably Vest Pocket Kodaks) can't focus below about six feet and have slow-ish shutter speeds and I love the fact that they still managed some good pictures. I love picturing a biplane pilot turning away from the dashboard to snap a picture of his friend (most of the instructors weren't much older than the pilots). I just love them. 

From two seperate collections of the San Diego Air and Space Museum: the collection of Walt Claverie, a pilot who trained in 1912 and taught at Selridge and Rich Fields during WWI; and an album belonging to Paul Aldin Smith, a pilot training at Kelly field in Texas during WWI. Both are terrific views of life as an aviation student and are highly reccomended. 

San Diego Air and Space Museum

I think this might be Walt Claverie; looks like him (he's adorable, by the way). Source

San Diego Air and Space Museum

San Diego Air and Space Museum

14 May, 2013

The Romance of Robert and Raymonde

You may recall a series of French romance postcards from the 1920s I featured a few months ago. To say I love these cards is an understatement. I've since acquired many more and, in fact, done a whole research project on them, which I hope to pursue further in the future. One of my favourite things about them-- and postcards in general-- is that they are a social kind of photograph, one intended to be used as a part of a personal narrative. With these particular ones, that narrative can very well be a love story.

That's the case with this amazing set, sent between Robert (also known as Bob) and his girlfriend/fiancee Raymonde in late 1920s France. Both of them loved these cards--they'd send them successive days, or, in once case, many on the same day. Sometimes several views from the same photoshoot were published as separate cards--Robert and Raymonde would buy a few of these. This tinted variety of these cards comes in many colours, but the two of them seem to have especially liked the green and pink ones. While none are addressed or stamped, it was very common for these kinds of postcards to be put in envelopes (at the time, stamps and postmarks went on the front of the card in France, not good for the picture!), and indeed on a few you can see the impression of a postmark through some other paper. 

I don't know anything more about the two of them, although since the cards ended up together, I think it's pretty certain they did get married. I feel honoured to have and share this beautiful glimpse of their love story. 

(I apologize for my poor French translations-- if you have better ones (and/or can read some of the words I can't decipher!) please share!). 

personal collection 

personal collection 

November 14, 1927. To Raymonde. "More sweet kisses from your Bob who loves you."

personal collection 

personal collection 

Mainz, February 1, 1928 (1 o'clock). To Raymonde. "To my [?] fiancee, My sweetest kisses. Your Bob for forever."

12 May, 2013

Mother's Day

Photographs of mothers and children. Happy Mother's Day!

Anonymous photographs from the LIFE archives, ca. 1895-ca. 1955

LIFE archives © Time Inc.

LIFE archives © Time Inc.

LIFE archives © Time Inc.

08 May, 2013

The Smithsonian in Cyanotype

Early museum photography! Thomas William Smillie was the first official photographer at the Smithsonian in the late 19th century, documenting objects, activities, and exhibitions. As his photographs were mostly intended for use as reference, they were printed as cyanotypes, easy and cheap. The results, combining simple compositions with the deep Prussian blue of the cyanotype, have a striking beauty beyond their original purpose. Mostly circa 1890-1900, though Smillie worked at the Smithsonian until his death in 1917.

Smithsonian Institution

Glass slides hanging in a window. Source

Smithsonian Institution

Books. Source

Smithsonian Institution

Candlesticks. Source

06 May, 2013

Soldiers Drinking

All right, time for the blog to get back on track! I apologize for the extended absence--last month of the first year of grad school! (in photographic history and preservation, of course). Thank you to all my wonderful followers for your patience, tons of great stuff to come!


 We've had a post on soldiers drinking tea; sometimes--especially during or at the end of a war-- something stronger is needed.

© IWM (SE 4758)

Recently released British prisoners of war have drinks at an officer's bar in Rangoon, Burma, 1945. Source

 © IWM (BU 714)

British troops have a drink at a cafe in Brussels, 1944. Source

© IWM (CL 1138)

Airmen on leave have a beer in Brussels, 1944. Source

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog