Posts Tagged ‘historical’

“How Unprofessional Can It Really Be?”: Eisenstaedt’s Self-Portraits with Icons

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.
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How the US Govt Accidentally Created the Golden Age of American Photography

“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.
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The Invention of the Pigeon Camera for Aerial Photography

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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