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Transporting Vintage Photos of New York City in 1975

3 Dec

A brilliant computer engineer by profession, a fountain designer by fame, Nick DeWolf was a most prolific amateur photographer, capturing the 20th century existence through decades and continents. Lucky for us, a dedicated archivist from Seattle has been tirelessly digitizing his photographs. As DeWolf’s Flickr collection nears 50,000, let’s take another nostalgic little trip through 1975 New York City via reel #66. See anti-war and anti-pornography demonstrations in Times Square, Yakuza films playing on 42nd Street, teeming bookstores, adult magic shows, Central Park pigeon feeders, Chinatown children, and a few fabulously dressed ladies strolling though Midtown in our slideshow.


Paris, 1940s – 1950s, by Robert Doisneau

28 Nov

Robert Doisneau (April 14, 1912, Gentilly, Val-de-Marne – April 1, 1994) was a French photographer. In the 1930s he used a Leica on the streets of Paris; together with Henri Cartier-Bresson he was a pioneer of photojournalism. He is renowned for his 1950 image Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville), a photo of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. Robert Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the National Order of the Légion d’honneur in 1984. [Wikipedia]

[via How to be a Retronaut]

Omaha, Nebraska, November 1938 by John Vachon

27 Nov

I spent a cold November week in Omaha and walked a hundred miles. Was it Kearney Street where unemployed men sat all day on the steps of cheap hotels? A tattoo parlor, and the city mission with its soup kitchen. Men hanging around the stockyards. One morning I photographed a grain elevator: pure sun-brushed silo columns of cement rising from behind CB&Q freight car. The genius of Walker Evans and Charles Sheeler welded into one supreme photographic statement, I told myself. Then it occurred to me that it was I who was looking at the grain elevator. For the past year I had been sedulously aping the masters. And in Omaha I realized that I had developed my own style with the camera. I knew that I would photograph only what pleased me or astonished my eye, and only in the way I saw it.

John F. Vachon (May 19, 1914 – April 20, 1975) was an American photographer. He worked as a filing clerk for the Farm Security Administration before Roy Stryker recruited him to join a small group of photographers, including Esther Bubley, Marjory Collins, Mary Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Russell Lee, Gordon Parks, Charlotte Brooks, Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn, who were employed to publicize the conditions of the rural poor in America.

Cars and parking meters

Nebraska is the white spot of the nation

Danbaum armored car

On a streetcar

Unemployed men who ride the freight trains from Omaha to Kansas City and St. Louis and back

High school student’s car

In the wholesale district

Boxcar and grain elevators

At the Armistice Day parade


Oak bar from a more prosperous era

Flophouse on lower Douglas Street

Saloon in the stockyard district

Blind beggar

Restaurant sign

[Wikipedia, via FSA-OWI Photos]

Black Cat Auditions In Hollywood, 1961

21 Nov

All images by Ralph Crane
LIFE Archive, via How to be a Retronaut

Odd and Rare Phobias

20 Nov


China in the past – 200 years back

19 Nov

Fire Competition, 1979

19 Nov

The ’70s Photos That Made Us Want to Save Earth

18 Nov
The Holmes Road Incinerator burned all kinds of trash, including, photographer Marc St. Gil claims, automobile batteries and plastic. It was closed by the Houston mayor’s executive order in January 1974, two years after this photo was taken. It is now the site of a prospective brownfield 10-megawatt solar farm (.pdf).
Photo: Marc St. Gil/National Archives and Records Administration

Photographer Michael Philip Manheim documented the plight of the East Boston neighborhood of Neptune Road. It was located near Logan Airport and subject to the noise of plane after low-flying plane overhead. The noise proved too much for the residents.
“Once a vibrant neighborhood of iconic three-decker-style Boston homes, the Neptune Road of today is an industrial area occupied by self-storage warehouses, shipping companies and construction vehicle lots servicing Logan Airport,” Simmons wrote. “The noise-plagued homes and residents of the Neptune Road neighborhood of the 1970s are now gone.”
Photo: Michael Philip Manheim/National Archives and Records Administration

Jack Corn’s photos of miners in Virginia show the human skill the energy system requires, and the toll it takes, at the ground level. In this photo, we see workers preparing to go underground at the Virginia-Pocahontas Coal Company Mine #3 near Richlands, Virginia.
“The man at the right wears a red hat, which means he is a new miner and has worked below less than a month,” Corn’s original captions reads. “His belt also shows less wear than the others. The miner at the left carries Red Man chewing tobacco, used by many of the men because they cannot smoke in the mines.”
Photo: Jack Corn/National Archives and Records Administration

The destruction wrought by coal mining in local communities was another frequent subject of the photographers. Here, we see Mary Workman, a resident of Steubenville, Ohio. Workman holds a jar of the water that came up from her well, which she said had been poisoned by the work of the Hanna Coal Company.

Photo: Erik Calonius/National Archives and Records Administration

There was a social component to the mining life, too. Here we see some miners relaxing at the Coal City Club in Coal City, West Virginia. Photographer Corn wrote, “Note that some of them are “hunkering down” rather than sitting. This is a familiar stance to all miners who use this posture in the mine shafts, which have low ceilings.”

Photo: Jack Corn/National Archives and Records Administration

Many of the photos captured the infrastructure necessary to support the large-scale mining and power operations. Here, we see the coal cars loaded up at the rail yards in Danville, West Virginia.

Photo: Jack Corn/National Archives and Records Administration

When Documerica launched, construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline was just getting underway. Dennis Cowals headed up to Prudhoe Bay, near where the pipeline would begin, and photographed the local flora and fauna of the area. Through 2009, the pipeline has transported 16 billion barrels of oil.

Photo: Dennis Cowals/National Archives and Records Administration

Terry Eiler visited a Navajo reservation and found some ghastly environmental conditions. Here, rusting old cars are being used as a kind of makeshift dam.

Photo: Terry Eiler/National Archives and Records Administration

The project didn’t just focus on major industry; it also attempted to reach out into the rural areas of the country. Marc St. Gil’s portraits of daily life in the south central Texan town of Leakey yielded all sort of idiosyncratic characters. The town was and is 50 miles from anywhere. The man in this picture went by the name “Woodrow Wilson,” and as St. Gil noted in his caption, “He never works, but sits staring at the river from 7 a.m. until sunset.”

Photo: Marc St. Gil/National Archives and Records Administration

In a time of turning on and dropping out, there were plenty of young travelers willing to make use of the discards of middle class America. Here, we see a hobo camp in Denver filled with miscellaneous junk.

Photo: Shel Hershorn/National Archives and Records Administration

In the pollution-choked cities of the day, some Bostonians found solace in Fenway Gardens, a 5-acre plot of land cut into 425 personal gardens. The urban farm grew out of the World War II “Victory Garden” program, and remains open to this day.

Photo: Ernst Halberstadt/National Archives and Records Administration

American resourcefulness was also on full display in the photos. Here we see a gas station that’s managed from the broken down bus in the background.

Photo: Marc St. Gil/National Archives and Records Administration

Experimental builder and architect Michael Reynolds gained fame in the early ’70s by building homes out of beer cans filled with dirt. Here we see one of those “Earthships” in New Mexico. All kinds of experimental energy-conservation technologies were built in, including the sloping wall at the bottom left, which is a solar heat collector.

Photo: David Hiser/National Archives and Records Administration

The Exide Sundancer was a tiny, 8-horsepower electric car built by race-car enthusiast Bob McKee. Photographer Frank Lodge saw these test rides at an energy conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Photo: Frank Lodge/National Archives and Records Administration

This here is an actual greased-pig competition at the Tennessee Consolidated Coal Company First Annual Picnic near Chattanooga. It shows the lighter side of coal mining.

Photo: Jack Corn/National Archives and Records Administration


Hollywood Parties of the ’80s and ’90s

12 Nov


Photos of Japan from 1950 by Herb Gouldon

7 Nov