The New York Times recently began posting digitized photographs from their “morgue” (or archive) on Tumblr, including the reverse sides with notes from the photographers, notes about how the photograph was used, captions, and more.
We’re eager to share historical riches that have been locked away from public view, and have been awaiting a platform like Tumblr that makes it easy to do so. We hope you’ll enjoy the serendipity of discovery, that you’ll know something of the thrill we feel when we unlock the door of the morgue and walk into a treasure house made of filing cabinets, index cards, manila folders and more 8-by-10s than anyone can count.
A diagram of possibilities for deciphering the reverse-side notes can be found here (near the bottom of the page). Creators of the project plan to post several photographs on Tumblr every week.
For his project Vanishing Cultures, photographer Dennis Manarchy is traveling around the country documenting various cultures with a one-of-a-kind, 35-foot-long camera called “Eye of America”. Styled like an old fashioned large format camera, it’s so large that a person can work comfortably inside it. The negatives measure 6×4.5 feet, and are so large that windows must be used as lightboxes to examine them. The detail in a portrait subjects’ eyeball alone is a thousand times greater than what you get with the average negative. Resulting portraits will be featured on prints 2 stories tall.
Via PetaPixel. See their article for a video introducing the camera and a video introducing the project.
WhatWasThere is a project based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which combines GIS data with historic photographs, including many of architecture. Photographs are linked to their location of origin on maps, allowing visitors to the website (or users of the free mobile app) to take a virtual historic tour through cities and neighborhoods. Users may also contribute their own photographs.
The premise is simple: provide a platform where anyone can easily upload a photograph with two straightforward tags to provide context: Location and Year. If enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, together we will weave together a photographic history of the world (or at least any place covered by Google Maps). So wherever you are in the world, take a moment to upload a photograph and contribute to history!
Start-up company Lytro is causing a buzz with their so-called light field camera, the first to allow users to shoot first and focus later.
While viewing a picture taken with a Lytro camera on a computer screen, you can, for example, click to bring people in the foreground into sharp relief, or switch the focus to the mountains behind them.
The camera will be released to the consumer market later this year. Via The New York Times.
This week the color photograph celebrates its 150th birthday. On May 17, 1861, Scottish physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell and photographer Thomas Sutton (inventor of the SLR camera) shot a photograph of a colored ribbon using red, green, and blue filters.
Via BBC News.
The National Archives has digitised thousands of unique images of Africa and published them on Flickr this week. The collection spans more than 100 years of African history, from as early as the 1860s, including images of people, places, national and imperial events, conflict and natural disasters.
As some of the images have minimal context, the public is invited to contribute to these historical assets by adding comments and captions, filling in knowledge gaps.
The collection is available in Flickr. Via National Archives News.
The exhibition For All the World to See examines the influence of visual culture and images like that of Emmett Till in shaping and transforming the struggle for racial equality by showing… realities of segregation and racial violence, inspiring activists, and fostering African American pride and the Black Power movement.
This traveling exhibit will be open at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago until May 16, 2011. A comprehensive online exhibition is also available.
Via the National Endowment for the Humanities.
History Coming Home at the Chicago Tourism Center Gallery…
reveals public policies, oral histories, and artifacts from public housing in cities from Chicago to Boston and New Orleans to Sacramento. The core of this exhibition at the Chicago Tourism Center Gallery consists of a 1950s-style public housing apartment that visitors can walk through. Inside the 20 ft X 20 ft installation, a living room, kitchen, and bedroom filled with artifacts from public housing residents and a video capture various aspects of the public housing experience.
Alison Cuddy, host of WBEZ’s Eight Forty-Eight, recently toured History Coming Home with National Public Housing Museum Executive Director Keith Magee. You can listen to it here.
The exhibit includes photographs from the Chicago Housing Authority archives and the Chicago History Museum. It previews the opening of the National Public Housing Museum, a permanent home for the history of public housing in America, set to open in 2012. History Coming Home will be open until April 15, 2011 at the Chicago Tourism Center Gallery, 72 E. Randolph. Tours are available M-F, 11am-3pm and by appointment.
Via the City of Chicago’s Official Tourism Site.
Before embarking on a research trip, you might prepare to photograph materials in libraries and archives. It can be difficult to capture quality images of archival materials, especially in low-light situations. A recent guest post on ProfHacker details one way of stabilizing a digital camera, which includes using a clamp, articulated arm and wired camera remote as a sort of portable copy stand.
Keep in mind that some of the processes advocated in the article will not be allowed in all archives or libraries. Check with archives, museums or libraries before your visit to ask about policies; most will have specific requirements for equipment used in reading rooms. If you have questions about cameras or other photography best practices, please contact the VRC.
Via Derivative Image.