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.
Vintage photos of:
Barbie was made out to be some sort of vixen on those carrying cases, huh? View full size.
Summer 1948. I just turned 2, and my sister arranged this scene on our lawn in Larkspur, California. Kodacolor negatives of this vintage had a tendency to deteriorate into an impenetrable murk, so all we have left are the prints. Those, unfortunately, all acquired an intense and irregular yellow cast, but I was able to correct most of that out.
We broke out the slides when my father was near death this past Winter. By the time of his funeral I had pared it down to a select hundred or so and entertained Mom, my siblings, and our kids a couple of times. Not that Dad missed out. He got one last show when I visited earlier in 2007 and brought them down from the upstairs closet along with the old Graflex Constellation projector. The smell of a warm projector! I love that smell.
Having kids of our own allows us to recognize the sweet and delicate and vulnerable embrace my brother's godfather is relishing in this shot and it ties us to the past more strongly than we could have expected when as kids we were squirming in front of the screen waiting for the next slide and hoping yourself was in the shot.
Dad used his trusty Kodak Retina in the smooth brown leather case. My older sisters always complained that he shot on slide film instead of prints that they could more readily enjoy or share with friends. Dad preferred the clarity of Kodachrome and I didn't know that about him until after I cultivated my own preference for quality, which in my time means preferring film to digital.
Yosemite National Park, July 1962. My shot of my father maneuvering our 1956 Rambler station wagon through the Wawona Tunnel Tree was one of thousands of similar photos taken until it toppled over seven years later under the weight of a tremendous snowfall. 127 Ektachrome slide. View full size.
Summer 1962. We stopped in the historic Gold Rush town of Mariposa, California on our way to Yosemite. My mother, grandmother and father are standing at the corner of the Schlageter Hotel, built around 1859-1866, while I'm across the street taking this shot on 127 Kodacolor with my Brownie Starmite. I was about to turn 16, and later that year I finally graduated to 35mm. Neither the 1959 Ford wagon or the fabulous 1957 Oldsmobile hardtop belonged to us. Our 1956 Rambler wagon is parked out of sight somewhere. View full size.
From a Kodachrome slide. Okay, so it's a not a gun. But he could be one of them dust bunny rustlers. View full size.
From a Kodachrome slide. That's me. View full size.