SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Girl in the Bubble: 1942

The Girl in the Bubble: 1942

Bombardier nose section of a B-17F Navy bomber at the Douglas Aircraft plant in Long Beach, Calif. October 1942. The B-17F "Flying Fortress" is a later model of the B-17. View full size. 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer.

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Day off?

I wonder about the posed nature of this photo. True, women of the past rarely went out of the house unless they were well-coiffed, but wearing of jewelry in the factory was VERY discouraged. A dainty gold watch like hers could easily get caught in a machine or tool and cause injury (possibly what happened to her bandaged finger?).

No doubt this was a posed affair. Knowing the lighting requirements of Kodachrome, there's no way this was a quick "hey you! Lemme grab a snap!". I just wonder how Palmer went about choosing his subjects.

[The large-format OWI Kodachromes taken indoors at assembly plants do not, as a general rule, purport to be candid documentary photography; most were carefully composed and lighted, and taken for a specific purpose. As we have pointed out before, that purpose was often to serve as studies for the artwork used in posters for recruitment, bond drives, safety campaigns, etc. Example below. As far as "jewelry" goes, there's nothing especially remarkable about a 1940s assembly worker wearing a wristwatch. - Dave]

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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