Posts Tagged ‘history’

The Fascinating Story Behind The Oldest Surviving Photograph of a US President

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In June of last year, we gave you a quick “photo trivia o’ the day” lesson on the history of presidential photography. We told you that John Quincy Adams sat for what is currently the oldest surviving photo of a US President, that James Polk sat for the oldest of a US President in office, and that President Obama was actually the first to have his official photo taken digitally. That first of those three facts, however, comes with an interesting story. Read more…

The First Ever Photo of Someone Giving The Finger

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Photographic history doesn’t get much classier than this: above we have what may very well be the first ever photograph of someone giving the finger. In a team picture of the Boston Beaneaters, pitcher Charles Radbourn was caught flipping the New York Giants the bird in the top left hand corner of the photo. Read more…

Beast Mode: A Sony RX1 with a Russian Turret Universal Optical Viewfinder

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Disappointed that the full-frame Sony RX1 compact camera doesn’t come with an optical viewfinder? Don’t worry: you can use the camera’s hot shoe to attach a sweet/strange-looking universal turret viewfinder! That’s how DSLR Magazine customized theirs in a recently published review.
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Why Founding Photog William Henry Fox Talbot Would Have Grokked Photoshop

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The origin of photography was artistic incompetence. On his honeymoon in 1833, William Henry Fox Talbot struggled to sketch the Italian countryside. He was assisted by a camera lucida, a device that projected the landscape onto a sheet of paper, but his untutored hand couldn’t follow the contours. So he conjured a means to record scenery chemically. He dubbed it “the art of photogenic drawing”, and in the 1840s popularized his invention with a book called The Pencil of Nature.
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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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