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.
South Carolina, 1956. Another entry from Margaret Bourke-White's photoessay on segregation and civil rights in South. Will someone pass the salt? Color transparency from the Life magazine photo archive. View full size.
June 6, 1950. "Vis-O-Matic department store." A Vis-O-Matic spokesmodel, or perhaps even the queen of Vis-O-Matic, the Canadian catalog store whose slide-projection system of displaying merchandise was like a Buck Rogers premonition of online shopping. The Vis-O-Matic phenomenon seems to have been short-lived, with hardly any documentation online aside from these photos in the Life archive, and no word of its fate. Photo by Bernard Hoffman. View full size.
June 6, 1950. "Vis-O-Matic department store," a premonition of virtual retailing. One of at least 200 photographs taken by Bernard Hoffman at retail magnate Laurence Freiman's newfangled catalog store in Pembroke, Ontario. The cards were an index of merchandise on color slides viewed by customers on rear-projection screens. Life magazine image archive. View full size.
South Carolina, 1956. More from this series of pictures on life in the South. Color transparency by Margaret Bourke-White, Life magazine archive. View full size.
More from the South Carolina roadhouse. So far I've found five pictures of these two mixing it up, either wrestling or dancing. The captions don't say anything about what's going on, but the girl seems delighted. Color transparency by Margaret Bourke-White, Life magazine image archive. View full size.
1956. "Segregation in South Carolina. Separate and unequal recreation facilities." I've looked at hundreds of photos from this assignment and would have to agree -- the white folks in general seem to be having a lot less fun in their hopelessly boring bars, uptight country clubs and over-chlorinated swimming pools. Eventually they got wise. Color transparency by Margaret Bourke-White. View full size.
June 6, 1950. Pembroke, Ontario. "Vis-O-Matic department store." A variation on mail-order shopping, the Vis-O-Matic system used color slides to display merchandise to potential customers, with orders placed by Teletype and delivered to your door. Photo by Bernard Hoffman, Life image archive. View full size.