Posts Tagged ‘history’

A Blast from the Past: Paul Simon’s Hit Song “Kodachrome”

After sharing that short feature yesterday on the last roll of Kodachrome, it seems appropriate to share this once-super-popular song written about the same film.

Simply titled, “Kodachrome,” it was written by American musician Paul Simon after the first breakup of Simon & Garfunkel.
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The Rise, Near Demise, and Rebirth of the Leica Camera

Leica made its name a very long time ago by creating the first practical 35mm camera to use standard cinema 35mm film. The rest, as they say, is history. A history filled with successes and failures alike, most of the latter coming in the early 2000s when the company was having trouble moving into the digital age.

In 2013, Leica has a couple of things to celebrate. For one, its no longer in financial trouble; and for another, the company is turning 100 this year. In light of that momentous birthday, here are a couple of short videos (the first one is above) by Deutsche Welle that take a look at Leica’s past, present and future.
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Headless Portraits From the 19th Century

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It’s not easy to remember life before Photoshop. When we do, we think of a world where picture were straightforward, always showing exactly what happened to be in front of the lens when the exposure was taken. But that’s not entirely the case.

Trick photography has been around for centuries, and even though the folks in Victorian times weren’t nearly as concerned with artificially slimming down, they did like to have some photographic fun once in a while. This set of headless photographs from the 19th century is a great example of the kind of ‘fun’ we’re talking about.
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The Story Behind the Iconic Photograph of the First Flight of an Airplane

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Yesterday marked the 109th anniversary of the first aviation photograph ever snapped. Back on December 17th, 1903, an amateur photographer named John Thomas Daniels Jr. captured the now-iconic photograph above showing the Wright brothers’ first flight.
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Double Exposure: A Clever Photo Prank From Half a Century Ago

When the engineering students and staff of King’s College in London gathered together to take a faculty portrait, the photographer used an old camera that panned from left to right in order to capture an extremely long panorama of the entire group in one frame. It worked a bit like the panorama features on modern smartphones: start the exposure on one side of the frame, and then gradually sweep the camera across the scene while everyone in the frame stays as still as possible.
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Glimpse of Better Times: Then-and-Now Photos of an Abandoned Detroit School

To “raise awareness of the social and economic challenges the city of Detroit,” website Detroiturbex explores and photographs abandoned buildings and places in and around the city. One of its recent projects focuses on Lewis Cass Technical High School, which had its building devastated by a major fire in 2007 (the building was subsequently demolished).

By combining old photographs of the school with new views of the abandoned building, it offers us a look into two different times: one that shows a vibrant campus and one that shows empty ruins.
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Pilgrimage: A Photographer’s Journey to One of the Birthplaces of Photography

If you’re at all interested in the history of photography, Henry Fox Talbot is a pioneer that you need to be familiar with. Although French pioneer Louis Daguerre is often credited with being “the father of photography,” Talbot, based in England, had announced his own photographic process in the same year. Daguerre’s daguerreotype process dominated the industry early on, but Talbot’s process — one that involved creating photographic negatives and then printing photos with them — eventually became the standard model used in the 20th century.
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Iconic Photo: Watching Bwana Devil in 3D at the Paramount Theater

This iconic photograph by LIFE magazine photojournalist J. R. Eyerman turned 60 this past week. Shot at the Paramount Theater in Hollywood in 1952, the image shows the opening-night screening of the first ever full-length, color 3D movie, titled Bwana Devil.
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René Burri’s Contact Sheet That Led to an Iconic Photo of Che Guevara

Imagine you were a newspaper photo editor back in 1963, and Swiss Magnum photographer René Burri handed you the contact sheet above filled with portraits of revolutionary Che Guevara. Which photograph would you select for publication?

You might recognize one of the photographs, since it has become one of the most iconic portraits created of Che.
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Analog Instagram: A Brief History of the Lomography Movement

Stephen Dowling of BBC News has an interesting piece that tells the story of the Lomography movement and how it may be instrumental in saving film photography:

In 1991, a group of Austrian art students on a trip to nearby Prague found [...] a curious little camera [...] it produced pictures unlike anything they had seen before. The little camera was the Lomo LC-A – Lomo Kompact Automat, built in Soviet-era Leningrad by Leningrad Optics and Mechanics Association (Lomo) – and very soon a craze was born. It was an analogue Instagram in the days before digital photography.

This Lomo craze may have ended up helping save film photography from an untimely end. In 1992, the students set up Lomographic Society International, exhibiting shots taken on unwanted Lomos they had bought up from all over Eastern Europe. Then, in the mid-90s, having exhausted the supply of left-over Lomos gathering dust in Budapest, Bucharest or East Berlin, they went to the camera’s manufacturers [...] and persuaded them to restart production. The negotiations were helped along by the support of the city’s then deputy mayor, Vladimir Putin.

According to Dowling, there is speculation that Lomography is a potential suitor for Kodak’s film business that is currently for sale.

Did the Lomo camera save film photography? [BBC News]


Thanks for sending in the tip, Phil!


Image credit: LOMO LC-A e pensieri by hummyhummy