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:
April 1979, still in the early days of the home video revolution, in which I was something of a pioneer. Here I'm at the controls of my Advent VideoBeam projection television, which threw a 5.75-foot wide image onto a silvered screen. I got it in 1976 and my first Betamax VCR the following year - #2 is on the bottom shelf, a 2-hour capable SL-8200, replacing the 1-hour-only SL-7200. The gizmo on the shelf above the Betamax is an Atari Video Music. You ran audio into it, hooked it up to your TV and it produced garish animated abstract electronic patterns bouncing around in response to the musical content, the parameters of which you could control via a bunch of knobs and switches. Devo apparently used one in an early music video. It was, like, far out man. View full size.
This is in the video room a friend and I built in the basement of my folks' Larkspur house. The window in the back is for the projection of Super-8 films onto the VideoBeam screen via a clever arrangement of front-surfaced mirrors, as that wall is only a foot or so from the huge old gravity furnace. The wide-angle lens distorts the door frame angle.
Just last year I got my third projection video system, the largest yet, and in adjusted dollars it was the cheapest of the three.
Kodachrome (Konica Autoreflex T) via self-timer and bounce flash (Vivitar 273).
Since we recently saw the final end for Kodachrome, I thought I'd mark the occasion by sharing this photo with the Shorpy community. My first job out of college in 1973 was as a Kodachrome Process Control Analyst for Berkey Photo at 77 E. 13th St. in Manhattan.
Here are two processor operators spooling Super 8 Kodachrome film off K-12 #6, a Houston Fearless machine. The left hand operator's hand is resting on the take off end of the processor, ready to apply the reel brake when the reel was full. The large panel to the right contained temperature controls, filters and circulation pumps. I was there for the transition from K-12 to K-14, and I can still rattle off the processing steps at the drop of a hat. If someone would care to drop a hat, I'll demonstrate. View full size.
Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "George Parezo & Co., Ninth Street N.W." An electrical appliance store in the early years of that retail category (top sellers included irons, coffeepots, vacuums, table lamps and toasters), on the eve of the emergence of a new a mass communications medium. "Wireless" transmissions, at first mostly marine and military telegraphy, now included civilian audio broadcasts heard on crystal-set headphones. Before long loudspeakers connected to vacuum tube receivers entered the mainstream, and "radio" was born. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.
Circa 1880-1899. "Majestic Building, Detroit." And a good view of one of the "moonlight tower" arc lamp standards whose base can be seen in the previous post. Some of these towers are said to have made their way to Austin, Texas, where they are the sole remaining examples of their kind. View full size.