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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 • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Watch the Birdie: 1955

Watch the Birdie: 1955

One of my brother's high school classmates. With his Rolleicord, cable release, tripod, light meter and box of Sylvania Superflash flashbulbs, he's obvioulsly the school's go-to guy for photography. The white thing hanging on the tripod is a program for the senior play, "George Washington Slept Here," and he's here in the gym/auditorium to shoot a dress rehearsal. So's my brother, unofficially, with a roll of Ektachrome in his camera. This is a double-exposure, first shot without flash, explaining the phantom images around the bulbs and on the flash unit mount. Doesn't explain why there's a roll of Life Savers in the flash unit, though. Does add a little color interest to it, however. Oh, and I love his clothes, seriously. View full size.

Ya! White Bucks!

I can hear a very young Pat Boone singing now!

Speed or Crown Graphic cameras were the standard for news photographers when I was a kid; big and bulky forerunners to the smaller 35mm cameras that eventually replaced them.

As kids we would collect the flashbulbs we'd find all over the ground wherever the photogs went -- at the scene of an overturned streetcar, a sad collision between a car and a horse wagon or a fire in our neighborhood.

Another one of the many no-cost pastimes we had as kids.

J.T.

He looks a little bit like John Travolta. Real cool photo.

Dingy white bucks

I moved midway through the white bucks period. At the first school they were supposed to be clean (we, too, used the white liquid shoe polish) but at the second school the fashion was for them to be dirty and scuffed, so I carefully wire brushed the white off, to my mother's dismay. Ah, the complexities and problems of teenhood!

White Bucks

I wore Cole Haan white bucks (along with tan ones) well into the 80's, and you'd keep them white with that bag of chalk, never with "liquid polish." which would have been a crime.

Wite-Out

White chalk, no. But I remember those bottles that had white shoe polish liquid with a brush applicator attached to the cap. And like the guy in the photo, some guys weren't all that good at keeping the white polish stuff off the edges of the soles. Still remember the smell of that stuff. Kind of like that white-out liquid for the old time rotten typists like me who would be typing like crazy, then look up and realize your fingers were shifted over to the left or right, and what your saw on the last line was something similar to ghpdtj''kytyu...and you reached for the Wite-out with the crusted up brush to save the day.

White Bucks

Who remembers the bag of white chalk you used to keep them white?

Classic Clothes of the '50s...

There was something of a comeback for this look in the late '70s / early '80s in NYC. I recall wearing white bucks with the requisite red soles and argyles, chinos and a button down collared shirt topped off by a denim single breasted blazer. I remember a lot of guys wearing this around that time. Or was it just me? Wish I had a pic of myself in that outfit.

Not only argyles...

...but argyles that match his shirt! This guy put some thought into it!

Care to explain?

What are "argyle socks" and "white bucks"? For the clueless person born in the late 1980s.

[Too bad there's no easy way to look that up. - Dave]

Argyles

and white bucks. incredible.

Another great picture

I love the photos you post -- so full of life! Did either you or your brother pursue a career in photography?

His clothes are awesome!

His clothes are awesome! White bucks and argyle socks - this guy was a sharp cat!

 
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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