The 120° panoramic image (and its crop) you see above is titled “Daguerreotype View of Cincinnati” and was captured in 1848 by Porter and Fontayne from Newport, Kentucky. It was created with eight full-plate daguerreotypes and shows a two mile stretch of the Cincinnati waterfront. Codex 99 writes,
The panorama is not only the first photograph of the Cincinnati waterfront but the earliest surviving photo of any American city. It is also the earliest image of inland steamboats, of a railroad terminal and of freed slaves. It may very well be one of the most important American photographs ever taken.
It’s been a while since I wrote a history article and two or three people seemed to like them. I’ve pretty much covered the development of early cameras and lenses so it’s time to consider the way we recorded those images so other people could see them. No, I’m not talking about Facebook. I’m talking about film. Actually, I’m talking about even before film, mostly, but I really wanted to work that ‘development of film’ bit into the title. Pretty great, isn’t it? OK, maybe not. Read more…
After collecting old World War 2 photographs taken in major European cities, Russian photographer Sergey Larenkov spent a year traveling around Europe to re-photograph the same scenes as they look today. He then carefully combined the old images with the new ones to create photographs that show two views of the same location captured over 60 years apart. Read more…
Here’s a revolving self-portrait created back in 1865 by French photographer Félix Nadar (real name Gaspard-Félix Tournachon). Nadar was the first person in history to take aerial photographs (he was a balloonist) and was one of the pioneers of artificial lighting (he photographed in the catacombs of Paris). Read more…
This past Monday was the 182nd birthday of photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who became famous for his high speed photographs of galloping horses. In 1965, the US Department of Defense commissioned this short documentary titled It Started with Muybridge, which tells the story of how Muybridge’s early photography experiments contributed towards the advancement of science and technology during the Atomic Age.
Albert Kahn was a wealthy French banker who launched a project in the early 1909 that aimed to create a photographic record of the world. The first commercially successful color photography process, Autochrome Lumière, had just arrived two years earlier, and Kahn decided to use the medium to both document human life and to promote peace. He sent out an army of photographers to 50 different countries, amassing 72,000 photos and 100 hours (183,000 meters) of film that became one of the most important collections of images in human history. Read more…
Ever wonder how photographs were made back in the days of the Civil War? This video by the George Eastman House provides an interesting step-by-step look at how tintype photographs are created. It’ll make you feel spoiled as a modern day photographer.
The New York Times has launched a new Tumblr site called “The Lively Morgue” to breathe new life into items in the newspaper’s photo archive (nicknamed “The Morgue”). Each week they’ll be sharing several historical photographs found in massive collection. Just how massive?
We don’t know. Our best guess is five million to six million prints and contact sheets (each sheet, of course, representing many discrete images) and 300,000 sacks of negatives, ranging in format size from 35 millimeter to 5 by 7 inches — at least 10 million frames in all. The picture archive also includes 13,500 DVDs, each storing about 4.7 gigabytes worth of imagery. When the Museum of Modern Art set out to exhibit the highlights of the Times archive in 1996, it dispatched four curators. They spent nine months poring over 3,000 subjects, working with two Times editors, one of whom spent a year on the project. In the end, they estimated that they’d seen only one-quarter of the total. [#]
To make the project even more interesting, they’re also publishing an image of the reverse side of each print. This often reveals information such as how often the image was used, notes by the photographer, and the original caption that was chosen.
Here’s your interesting photo fact of the day: did you know that sepia toning (when B&W photos are given that distinctive warm tone) is named after the Common Cuttlefish? The scientific name of the species is Sepia officinalis, and the ink produced by the cuttlefish was used for sepia toning when the technique first emerged in the 1880s.
Sepia is a dark brown-grey color, named after the rich brown pigment derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish Sepia. The word sepia is the Latinized form of the Greek σηπία, sēpía, cuttlefish. [#]
Nowadays, sepia ink is generally replaced with other dyes or pigments that produce the same hue.