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About the Photos

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 • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

String Section: c. 1939

String Section: c. 1939

The orchestra at a square dance in McIntosh County, Oklahoma. Photograph by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration Office of War Information, c. 1939. View full size.

 

Kodachrome corrected

The original is fairly typical of how the earliest Kodachromes faded before processing changes resulted in the kind of color stability we've come to expect from the film. There's no way of knowing if my correction represents the original colors accurately, but it does seem a bit more life-like.

Nice Socks...

... on the guitar girl.

Reality

Well the colors have just aged poorly. It happens to the best of us.

What I like about this picture is the reality of it. There's nothing fake about it.

Agreed

These colors do look a bit washed out, eh? I wonder what type of flash Mr. Lee used to light these particular scenes.
Denny Gill
Chugiak, Alaska

Red And Green

This series of photos reminds me of old Warner Brothers cartoons from the early 30s, when Disney owned the exclusive rights to the tri-color process. Other cartoon makers either had to just use black and white, or the ugly duo-color process where everything was either green or red, with no blues or purples. Click HERE to view an example.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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