Just in case this question ever comes up while you’re playing the world’s hardest game of photography trivia, what you see above is the first photograph ever snapped in Finland. Mats Söderlund of The Crop Factor writes,
This may look like something captured with Instagram on the newest smartphone, but it’s something a bit different indeed. It is the first photograph taken in Finland, ever. The photo dates back to the year 1842, and celebrated its 170th birthday last Saturday, November 3rd. The photograph is a daguerreotype [...] It was taken in Turku, which ironically also is Finland’s oldest city [...] The photographer was Henrik Cajander, a doctor by trade who lived on the very street the photo was taken [...]
As you can see the photo isn’t exactly perfect, technically or aesthetically speaking, but it is a big part of the history in Finnish photography. Some might call the crooked composition an amateur mistake, but the photographer was, in the realest sense, an amateur at what he was doing.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were a gallery of the first photographs shot in each country on Earth?
First Photograph Taken in Finland Turns 170 [The Crop Factor via Reddit]
Dutch historian Jo Teeuwisse is back with another fascinating then-and-now project (we featured her work once back in 2010), this time titled Ghosts of War–France. The images show old World War II photographs of soldiers blended seamlessly into photos of the same locations in modern day France.
We’ve shared a number of these “window into the past” projects in recent days, including a very similar one by Sergey Larenkov, but we think Teeuwisse’s images are still worth a look.
Best known for his iconic V-J Day in Times Square image, photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt snapped some of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century’s most famous faces. LIFE writes that the photographer had an interesting habit: jumping into the frame for self-portraits with his subjects.
“Corn Along a River” Marion Post Wolcott, 1940. Library of Congress.
My overview of American government goes generally like this: (1) Something happens. (2) The government passes some laws in response to it, adds on a few pork projects, and raises taxes to pay for the laws and the pork. (3) The laws (or pork) cause an entirely new problem. (4) Repeat.
The usual outcome of this cycle is that every year we have more laws and higher taxes. But every so often, some accidental side effect occurs and something awesomely good happens. So it was during the alphabet-soup days of New Deal government during the Great Depression. The accidental side effect was the Golden Age of American Photography. How it happened is rather interesting.
We’ve featured a couple of projects involving cameras strapped to birds recently (see here and here), but photographing with birds is anything but a new idea. It was actually invented a little over a century ago, in 1907, by a German photography pioneer named Julius Neubronner.
If you ever need some encouragement for sticking with photography when times get tough, you should read about the adventures of Frank Hurley. Born in Australia in 1885, he took up photography as a young man and eventually became skilled enough to be selected as the official photographer for multiple expeditions to Antarctica and for the Australian military in both world wars. Among his many photographic escapades, one stands out from among the rest: being stranded in the Antarctic for nearly two years.
Here’s an interesting piece of photo trivia for today: did you know that Apple’s similarities with Kodak don’t end with Steve Jobs modeling his career and his company after Polaroid? The ongoing dispute between Apple and Samsung is strikingly similar to the battle Polaroid had with Kodak many decades ago.
Back in the summer of 1942, the US Army called upon a young man named Glenn W. Eve (above left) for World War II. After finding him to be 5’9” and just 125 pounds, the military deemed him unfit for combat. Unlike Steve Rogers, there was no experimental serum available to Eve, but luckily he had a desired skill: photography. In 1944, Eve was promoted to private first class and placed in the Signal Photo Corps in order to document the happenings in the Pacific.
New York magazine editor Christopher Bonanos has written a new book titled Instant: The Story of Polaroid, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of Edwin Land’s revolutionary company. In the video above, Bonanos offers a brief history of Polaroid, including how Land’s ideas inspired entrepreneurs to follow:
[Edwin] Land did no market research. He once said that marketing is what you do if your product is no good. Instead, what he believed was this: you had to show people something they had no idea they wanted, but that was irresistible. To that end, what he would do was turn Polaroid’s annual meeting into sort of a show. He would get up on stage, he would show the new camera, he would demonstrate whatever the new product was, and by the end of the meeting you completely had to have one. You were drawn into Polaroidland.
Remind you of someone? If you’re thinking Steve Jobs, you’re right. The similarities were not a coincidence. As we shared last year, Steve Jobs considered Land his role model, and used many of his ideas in turning Apple into the juggernaut tech company it is today.
You might recognize the photograph above. Titled Valley Of The Shadow Of Death and snapped by British photographer Roger Fenton in 1855, it’s considered to be one of the oldest known photographs of warfare. Problem is, it might also be one of the oldest known examples of a staged photograph.