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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 • AUSTRALIA: GREAT BARRIER CORAL REEF

New York Public Library: 1915

New York Public Library: 1915

The New York Public Library as seen from the intersection of East 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. July 14, 1915. Copyright Office Collection. View full size.

 

Missing sculpture elements

A photo of the opening day of the Library on May 23 1911 shows that none of the six sculpture elements of the metope above the entrance had yet been placed. In a later photo one can notice that one element had been placed on the extreme right of the metope. What is strange is that on the above photo, who supposedly has been taken in 1915, no sculpture element at all appears on the metope. What has happened? Any idea welcome.

Walker Evans on postcards

The Feb '09 issue of Antiques magazine has an article on Walker Evans, "America in 3 by 5." His collection of more than 9,000 cards are the basis for the recent MOMA exhibit "Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard." Included in the article are several of his photos, including "Main Street, Morgan City, Louisiana" (1935) and a 1929 postcard shot from the same vantage.

Evans, quoted in a 1962 interview, said "The picture postcard is a folk document ... honest and direct little pictures." Antiques points out that the production of the cards wasn't so direct. While the photos may have come from largely anonymous local photographers, the business was multinational. Black-and-white photos, prior to WWI, anyway, were sent to Germany where color was added by engravers who'd never been near the scene, adding "florid sunsets and blue skies with great puffy clouds," but leaving the subjects somewhat understated.

The article is worth seeking out, both for the reflection on picture postcards, as well as some background on a great American documentary photographer.

Steve Miller
Someplace near the crossroads of America

Postcard view

I have a postcard view that seems to have been based on this photo.

my favorite hiding place

This is my favorite spot to go to on the weekends. The designs on the inside are amazing, not to mention the quiet.

 
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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