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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Lone Star: 1942

Lone Star: 1942

August 1942. Corpus Christi, Texas. "Women from all fields have joined the production army. Miss Grace Weaver, a civil service worker at the Naval Air Base and a schoolteacher before the war, is doing her part for victory along with her brother, who is a flying instructor in the Army. Miss Weaver paints the American insignia on repaired Navy plane wings." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Howard Hollem for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Kodachrome

This image (and all the OWI color images) makes me appreciate Kodachrome even more than I did. To last as many years as it has and still retain its color without shifting is nothing short of miraculous. It also brings up a question: What will happen to all of the family photos that are being taken by digital cameras these days in 50 years? Unless they are properly stored and cared for, a whole generation will lose its heritage.

Darn good paint

The rest of the star is bone dry. I wish I could find paint that dried within seconds of applying it.

Not buying it

In addition to the immaculately white blouse and squeaky clean hands, from that position, with the extended arm, her brush strokes could not possibly have been that steady. Plus, she is setting the can on top of the fresh paint! No experienced painter does that. Call me a skeptic, but I'm convinced it is a staged shot.

Nevertheless, she's easy on the eyes (in a 1940's kind of way), and I'm sure the real painter didn't look as nice.

[I think you're confusing "posed" and "staged." The "real painter" is the lady in the picture. Not to belabor the obvious, but the Kodachrome OWI work portraits are not documentary photography. They are almost all posed and floodlighted. - Dave]

Blue and White

Applying blue paint while wearing a spotless white blouse. I wonder how long that will last.

No stencil?

I'm surprised to see no stencils or masking to keep her from getting the Insignia Blue paint on the white star. Taken with the spotlessness of her clothing as already noted and I have to imagine the photo as being staged.

She's a Schoolteacher

Which is why she can stay inside the lines! A great photo for Flag Day.

Black and white

Applying black paint while wearing a spotless white blouse. I wonder how long that will last.

[The paint is blue. "Insignia Blue." - Dave]

Goodbye Kodachrome

What a lovely image (color and composition-wise); and, sadly, one we won't see being made again any time soon with the demise of Kodachrome (and film in general) as a medium.

No decals for me, thank you.

That just might be a Grumbacher brush she's holding! Oh and I can smell the lead-based 1-shot lettering enamel and pure gum turpentine from here!

Neatness Counts

Amazing how she hasn't gotten paint on her hands or that white blouse.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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