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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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Government Truck: 1925

Government Truck: 1925

1925. Washington, D.C. "Graham Bros. General Accounting Office truck at Capitol." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

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More on technique

To amplify slightly on Dave's remarks, the camera was set on a tripod and the exposure was adjusted for a time of probably one second. Judging from the blur of the figures, it could have been two seconds or even more. With today's much more sensitive films and digital cameras, such a long exposure in bright sun would more than likely require that a neutral density filter (sort of like sun glasses for the camera) be placed over the lens to cut down the light.

To get such a result today many digital cameras can be set to shoot only black and white, or you can make the change in Photoshop. An easy way to do this is to go to Image > Mode > Grayscale. The fine grain structure of the image would require the use of a fine grain film in at least 4x5-inch format. Such films are available. In digital, you would want the highest resolution the camera is capable of producing.

Well Built Bodies

Two Graham Bros. ads from 1924, displaying the transition of one-ton truck models, as well as featuring the now familiar Chestnut Farms Dairy.

(click to enlarge)
1924_graham_bros       1924_graham_bros2

Photography sage advice wanted

1) What is it that caused the "faded people" on the right hand side -- something to do with shutter time?

[That's how people look if they're moving around in a time exposure -- blurred. - Dave]

2) If one wanted to take a picture today that looked (technically) as much like this one as possible, in the same "vintage" way, how would one approximate it with either film or digital, and with what kind of post-production?

[View camera, 8x10 negative. Time exposure. - Dave]

Who issued the license plate?

Now I understand why some people around DC still call it the General Accounting Office. These days it's the Government Accountability Office.

I can't quite read the fine print at the top of the license plate. Now government vehicles are issued plates from the federal government (GSA, to be precise) but I'm not sure how long this has been the standard practice.

This is a beautiful picture of a workhorse vehicle. It's nice to see such great photography for vehicles that were normally photographed only in the course of their duties.

Faded people

Does anyone else notice the very faint see-through people standing around the lamppost on the right?

Bad Truck

There must be a parking ticket in the offing.

Weird Photo

I like this photo because it is rather strange. I wonder if it was purposely made or just lucky.

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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