Posts Tagged ‘historical’

Photog Documented Being Stranded in the Antarctic Nearly 100 Years Ago

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.
Read more…

Polaroid Once Won an Epic Courtroom Battle with Kodak

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.
Read more…

The Never-Before-Published Pacific War Photos of Private Glenn W. Eve

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.
Read more…

A Brief History of the Polaroid Camera

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.

Famous ‘Valley Of The Shadow Of Death’ Photo Was Almost Certainly Staged

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.
Read more…

The State of Professional Photography Back in 1946

Want to know what the professional photography industry was like over half a century ago, and what advice was commonly given to aspiring professionals? Check out this 10-minute vocational guidance film from 1946 that offers a quick overview of the various types of photography that people went pro in at the time. Suggested careers include portrait photography, commercial photography, and photojournalism. Here’s how the video starts off:

Photography is often called “the universal hobby.” It is a means of creative expression within the reach of people in all walks of life, and it speaks a language that everyone can understand.

The camera lens is a mechanical eye: seeing everything, and recording everything. It captures actions that will never again be repeated.

It’s fascinating to see how much the industry has changed in some ways, while remaining virtually unchanged in others. The brief glimpses of negative retouching are probably quite foreign to many modern day photographers, while the tip on starting photography as a hobby first is still heeded by many an aspiring photographer today.

(via The Atlantic via ISO 1200)

Civil War Reenactments Photographed with a Wet Plate Camera

At first glance, New York-based photographer Richard Barnes‘ Civil War photos might look like they were taken from some museum or historical photographic archive. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll begin to notice things that are quite peculiar. In one of them, there’s a pickup truck parked in the background. In another, a man wears a T-shirt and baseball cap — certainly not the fashion you’d expect to see in a mid-1800s photo.

The truth is, Barnes creates beautiful war photos that appear to be from over a century ago by using the Civil War-era process of wet plate photography to capture modern day Civil War battle reenactments.
Read more…

Iconic “Atop a Skyscraper” Photographs May Have Been Staged Publicity Stunts

Lunch atop a Skyscraper is one of the most recognizable photos of the 20th century. The 1932 photo shows 11 construction workers taking a lunch break on a girder 850 feet above New York City. A second photo from the same shoot shows four of the men sleeping on the beam. The images are iconic and epic, but may not be as candid as they seem.

New emerging information about the images is casting doubt on the fact that they’re simple snapshots showing ordinary workers on the job. Instead, the photos were reportedly staged as part of a promotional effort for the Rockefeller Center.
Read more…

This is What Camera Shops Looked Like a Century Ago

Check out this photo showing the inside of a camera shop (and pharmacy) from 1910. It’s the image on a postcard that’s currently being auctioned over on eBay (with a starting bid of $100) by a seller named 2raccoons. Here’s the description:

Up for auction is this extraordinary photograph of a woman in standard Gibson dress standing at a store counter purchasing a Kodak folding camera. The store employee is wearing a jacket and bow-tie which adds charm to the photograph. It is uncertain if the woman is actually buying the Kodak camera, or if the scene here is “staged,” but $25 is about what one would have paid for the Kodak folding camera at that time, which can be seen on the cash register.

$25 for a top-of-the-line camera. Not bad. Add a couple zeros to that price and you’ll get what many DSLRs are selling for these days.
Read more…

This Old US Army Camera Had a 100-Inch Infrared Lens and Required a Spotter

Check out this beastly camera used by Signal Corps during the Cold War. It featured a 100-inch infrared lens that was capable of seeing through over twenty miles of hazy air — perfect for capturing reconnaissance photographs of enemy strongholds. The camera was so massive that it required two people to operate: one to frame the shot, and one to snap the photo.

100-inches is 2540mm and the camera appears to use 4×5 large format film, so the equivalent 35mm focal length of this cannon-like lens is roughly 760mm.
Read more…