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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • WE CAN DO IT! BUT FIRST, COFFEE

The Pantitorium: 1938

The Pantitorium: 1938

August 1938. "A cleaning and pressing shop in Urbana, Ohio." 35mm nitrate negative by Ben Shahn for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

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Cornered

Mr. Shahn was not averse to using Leitz's "Wintu" right angle viewfinder on his camera's accessory shoe for those sneaky shots.

Sneaky Ben

My guess he's the head in profile facing right. He was deliberately facing away from his subjects, pointing his small 35mm camera toward them unobtrusively (perhaps even partially hidden in his coat) in order to capture them candidly.

[Sneaky Ben used a 35mm Leica with a special right-angle viewfinder. You can see his profile reflected in many of the storefront shots. - Dave]

How did he do that?

Ben Shahn's reflection is noticeably absent in the photo. Darkroom technique, or vampirism?

[He is indeed reflected in the glass. Who can figure it out? (Hint: We've been through this before.) - Dave]

You're Next!

A Pantitorium was a shop where you could get your pants pressed while you waited, in addition to the regular cleaning services.

When After a Job

"When After a Job -- You Can't Afford to Look Untidy. The Man With a Good Job Doesn't Want To -- The Pantitorium"

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