The U.S. Geological Survey has a nice collection of photos from the national parks of the American West, including a bunch of images from the various surveys of Yellowstone National Park from late 1800s that eventually led to the land being protected forever by the government. These early black and white photographs capture the beautiful natural landscape of an area that has gone on to become one of the most celebrated and a widely visited places in America.
Hope you had a productive day so far, because this is a day-wrecker. National Geographic recently launched an archival Tumblr called Found which is a gold mine of great imagery from the decades of photojournalism from the United States and throughout the world. (See also: The Lively Morgue.)
A few of these images had been popping up in my Tumblr dashboard, but I wasn’t sure as to their origin until last night when I discovered this new site. Seeing this for the first time was a similar experience to when the Life archive (which I might have posted about here and there) was made available via Google. Though what has been posted is just a tiny offering of the vast NatGeo archive, it’s a nice start to what will undoubtedly be a long and enjoyable friendship. [FOUND]
These photographs are interesting to me for a few reasons. 1. My grandfather grew up sailing skiffs like the ones you see below. We have a bunch of old photos of him on the water near Boston. 2. It is interesting to see that a lot of the style in these photos could very easily fit right in today even though most of these photos are very old. 3. DB sport coats and sneakers. 4. Bucket hats. 5. They remind me that good things are on the horizon.
Summer’s right around the corner and right about I’d like it if I were out to sea like these gentlemen. That means, Newport and other assorted nautical adventures with cocktails. Then finally this September are the America’s Cup finals in San Francisco which is going to be amazing. I’m making a point to be there for at least one weekend’s worth of it. I was in SF this spring for work and from my client’s office you could see the tall AC boats sailing by and it was pretty astonishingly beautiful.
A fitting set of images and sentiments for today. The Boston Public Library has an incredible set of old-time winter scenes shot in and around Boston during the early 20th century. What’s piques my attention in these photographs is the fact that many of the pictured moments are so similar to those of today —from snow filled streets to a towering stack of Christmas trees— though the times are obviously vastly different. To see the packages piled high at the train depot (South Station I believe), the range of photos of people digging out from blankets of snow and the empty nighttime streets after what must have been cold hard days fill me with ideas about what life must have been like way back then.
These days we are rarely without a camera, yet how often do we hold an actual photograph? We flip through streams of jpegs, on Tumblr, Instagram and the rest, we “like,” reblog and create virtual slideshows. We get daily dispatches from friends on alpine treks, course-by-course accounts of elaborate meals, and inspect carefully curated interiors. It’s so easy to create an evocative filter that we’ve become suspicious of what we’re looking at. It was not always thus.
Bunny Yeager’s photographs are direct and bracing. They remind us of the basic power of controlling the image and the elemental act of provocation. It should be mentioned that she was a pinup girl and named “world’s prettiest photographer” of 1953. You can enjoy her handiwork in the new book Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom: Pin-Up Photography’s Golden Era, (Rizzoli).
The Library of Congress never ceases to amaze me with its incredible archive of images. While going through a collection of newly digitized photographs, I came across this set from 1915 which documents a winter training maneuver of a New York National Guard unit in the Westchester County town of Peekskill, N.Y. Looking back, one could only assume that these soldiers ended up in Europe a few years later as part of the American Expeditionary Forces in the Great War.
A little while back I went to the preview for an auction of William Eggleston prints at Christie’s, a sale that was arranged to benefit the Eggleston Artistic Trust. It was a particu;arly interesting event for me for a few different reasons. First because I absolutely love Eggleston’s photography (and the man is one of my favorite living artists), and also because the auction consisted of large format digital pigment prints, a rare departure from the dye-transfer prints that helped solidify him as one of American’s greatest photographers.