The Shorpy Archive
 
6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
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.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • TAKE A KODAK, c. 1930s

Death Mask: 1908

Death Mask: 1908

New York circa 1908. Making a plaster death mask. View full size. 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress.

 

Wow

This has got to be my all-time favorite Shorpy.com submission, if not one of the neatest photos I've ever seen. Aside from the very intimate view of something that most of us would otherwise never see being done, the photo itself has so much going on. I love the looks of respectful concentration on the men's faces, and how they have their own brand of serenity amid a completely different type of "peace."

The other death masks in the background, sitting in neat rows on the shelves and slightly out of focus, add the slightest touch of the macabre. Well done GGB and well done team Shorpy!

Don't Move

I tried to make a "life mask" once in an art class...it's not easy. Of course it helps if the subject holds very still. The board supporting the plaster looks like a good technique - we had the subjects lie on their backs and used soda straws in the nostrils so we didn't end up with an accidental death mask.

Wikipedia article.

Smells like it, too

I worked for Unclaimed Property for the State of California, and we got one of these death masks in one of the safe deposit boxes. Not only does it look like death, it smells like death too. Fascinating, but nasty.

Death Mask

Wow, I always wanted to know how they did this.

 
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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.