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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Model Airport: 1958

Model Airport: 1958

Circa 1958. "Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Va. Model in construction. Eero Saarinen, architect." Self-portrait by Balthazar Korab. View full size.

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Just a shadow of its future self

As originally constructed, the terminal building was just under half the length it was designed to reach, which was accomplished in 1996. At its initial length of 600 feet, I found the design not quite worthy of all the celebratory praise of the day. What a difference the extension of 640 feet made!

Still a beautiful example of its time, and one of Saarinen's best.


I have used a lot of 4x5 Polaroid over the years and that sure looks like evidence. I may even have a (very expired) partial box of it in with my 4x5 stuff.

Architectural models are very expensive indeed. And that's only a small section of a much larger model. The entire model at that scale would have been huge, and easily tens of thousands of dollars.

Balthazar Korab, 1926-2013

He died only this year after an outstanding 60-year career as an architectural photographer. His obituary in the New York Times.

What a piece of work

That detail takes some real craftsmanship and I do wonder what became of it when finished. I get a kick out of the photographer showing us his lighting/reflector set-up.


Looks like the photographer has been using a Polaroid film back with his view camera. The discarded paper film frames scattered across the floor are more clues.

I worked with a similar Polaroid back on my old Speed Graphic back in the '70s. It could produce 4x5 "instant" prints together with a negative, or just a print. It was a handy tool for getting lighting correct before committing a sheet of real 4x5 film.

(If I'm correct, I think I see the Polaroid film back lying atop the boxes at extreme left, albeit an earlier model than the one I used.)

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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