Monday, December 31, 2012
Must of us have had the experience of looking at an old photograph and knowing where it must have been taken. There's nothing written anywhere on this picture. I could have been taken almost anywhere, but when I look at it it says Europe to me. Not the Europe of Paris, Prague or Berlin, but the Europe of a small village somewhere in eastern, or perhaps southern Europe. I'll bet the photographer was a local shop keeper who had a side line taking photos. An old piece of canvas was hung up on the wall to provide an even background, and a glass negative, the same size as the finished photo, was exposed. Maybe the married couple moved to the United States and brought this print with them.. Maybe they mailed it to their emigrant cousin. Who knows how it got here. But then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this image was made in Iowa.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I know, they're not actually lost in the snow. But the composition is so interesting. Did the photographer mean to frame like this, or was it a mistake? Was he trying to show just how much it had snowed? I like the lady on the left in her full length fur coat.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
I don't know whether these two photos are related or not, but I did find them in the same place, they look very similar, so I'm posting them together. Because of the hat, I can't be sure, but I think it might be the same woman. Call it small town America, in the twenties, in winter.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Written on the back of the second photograph, "Selva Dolomiten, Dezember 1956"
Selve refers to a small community in the Dolomite Mountains in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy, Selva di Val Gardena, or as it's known in German, Wolkenstein in Groden.
So why all the German? Pretty simple, actually. The South Tyrol was once part of Austria-Hungary. At the beginning of World War 1, there were two political blocks in Europe. The Triple Entente, Great Britain, France, and Russia, and the Triple Alliance, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. When the war started, Italy dropped out of the alliance. In 1915, the British promised the Italians the South Tyrol if they'd switch sides and declare war on the Germans and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Italians didn't do all that well in the actual fighting, but after the war, they were able to annex the South Tyrol. Despite attempts to "Italianize" the area, the majority of people still speak German. In Selva, 89% speak Ladin, a local dialect. The remaining 11% are about equally divided between Italian and German.
Friday, December 21, 2012
I have a confession to make. I don't really like Christmas all that much. My parents split up when I was young, and Christmas day was when they made their one effort of the year to be civil to each other. It lasted about five minutes. But for those whole love Christmas, a couple of cute kids standing in the snow, dated "Dec 1952"
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Tapolcza is a small town in Hungary. As of the last census, it had 17,598 residents. I was able to translate Palyaudvar as railway station, but the hand writing on the back is just too small and indistinct to be translated by someone who doesn't actually speak Hungarian. I also need help with the postmark. I think it's from August 10, 1916, but again, the design isn't something I'm familiar with. It could also be from 1910.
If it is from 1916, this postcard would have been mailed right in the middle of World War 1. Budapest would not have been the capitol of Hungary, it would have been a city in Austria-Hungary, a country that wouldn't survive the war.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Arghhh....The computer has been down for awhile. About a week ago I logged on and a window popped up informing me that my computer was infected with all sorts of nasty intruders. Windows XP security, and since I use Windows XP I followed the prompts. Right up until I was asked for a credit card number. Well, it doesn't take a computer genius (I'm not even close.) to know it was scam time. And then, all of a sudden, inexplicably, the scam window disappeared and I'm back in business. I suspect the virus is still hidden somewhere deep in the digital world that we all inhabit, but since I can't afford to get it removed by someone who knows what they're doing (Not me.) I'm just cruising along hoping for the best.
So, today's entry. It's cold and there's snow in the local mountains. The San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County. Anyway, this image looked appropriate for winter weather. I think it's Swedish. Translations welcome. I'll try and mix in some warmer photos over the next few months.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
I'm going to be really embarrassed if someone leaves a comment identifying this lady as their mother, but I'm sorry, I think this is a picture of a man. That jaw line, those bushy eyebrows. And the hair...well, it looks like it might be a wig to me.
I spent decades working in photo labs. I printed many an amateur pin-up, naked wives and girlfriends, the occasional naked man, and yes, pictures of people having sex. But by far and away, the most common "private" subject, was men dressed as woman. Many were fairly obvious; some were so good, I only knew because I was told. And, obviously, there were probably some that I didn't know about at all.
There are still plenty of conventional photo labs around, as well as a growing number of labs that specialize in digital photography. Fair warning! Photo lab workers collect favorite pictures. Ladies, if you went to a lab to have that special photo printed up for your boyfriend, more than likely it was taped up on a dark room wall. I knew one guy who had albums full of pictures of nude and scantily clad women. And yes, there are collections of guys in dresses that will, one day, end up on EBay.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
No, I hadn't forgot about this album. It's just such a pain to take the album apart and put it back together every time, I have a tendency to put the updates off. Click on NTSNC in the labels section at the bottom of the post to bring up the whole collection.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Alright, I admit it. I'm not sure it's from Germany. but it's printed on Agfa paper and it's a Mercedes Benz 220 SE "Fintail" Saloon Series 111.
So why the number? In an effort to rebuild it's brand, after the war, Mercedes began sponsoring road rallies. Rally sports go back to the beginnings of the automotive industry. Basically, a bunch of car enthusiasts get together and see who can get from point A to point B in the least amount of time. Some rallies are one day affairs, others run multiple days and legs. In 1908, there was even a New York to Paris rally, across North America to Nome, Alaska, a ships crossing to East Cape, Siberia and then on to Paris. The rally was won by an American team driving a 1907 Thomas Flyer.
There are rally associations that have rules for every race they sponsor. If the leg is 500 miles and the speed limit is 50 mph for the whole length, arriving in under 10 hours might add time to the total. The rules might involve staying on a set route or merely hitting certain way points. Of course, an informal rally might be nothing more than a few friends or a local club getting from San Francisco to Chicago. First one wins.
Friday, December 7, 2012
All I know about these photos is that they were taken in Hawaii in 1942. I've written about this before, and it's time to bring it up again. My father believed that the great depression and World War 2 were good for the average American. Not the New Deal or the money of a booming war economy, but how the disruption of those two great catastrophes forced Americans to move from their small towns or the old neighborhood, to go out and mix with people not like them, to go out into a greater world. I doubt the men in these photos would have ever seen Hawaii if it hadn't been for the war. Many would loose their lives, and that doesn't make for the better life that my father talked about, but for those who survived....it's one of those things that's impossible to prove, but I tend to agree with my father.
Now, to move on to a bit about Pearl Harbor. This week, I had a rather one sided discussion with a couple of young men about Pearl Harbor. One sided because I felt that what I was hearing was so irrational that it was pointless to reply. And yes, what they told me is something that many Americans believe. It was that old saw of the Franklin Roosevelt conspiracy to get America into World War 2. Once again I had someone tell me that FDR new all about the coming attack and let it happen so that he could get a reluctant America into a pointless war for personal gain. In the past I used to point out that a failed attack by the Japanese would have been just as effective in getting us into the war. That if Roosevelt knew in advance, surely we would have set a trap for the Japanese fleet. In the end though, I got tired of people telling me that I was an idiot. Didn't I know that FDR and his friends made more money rebuilding the fleet? That's why he wanted all of our ships sunk. So he could get rich. Sadly, that's not the stupidest thing I've heard from one of my fellow citizens about the war. That honor goes to the young man who told me that we and our German allies beat the Russians and the Japanese. When I tried to tell him who were actually our allies and which countries were our enemies, I was told that that was my opinion, and that no person's opinion was any more right than any other person's opinion. And this is what we fought for.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Sorry, I couldn't resist the Frank Zappa reference. Doesn't the lady in the center look like she's about to add another pelt to her shoulder. It also looks like she doesn't care whether it's animal or human. A very mean looking lady, indeed.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
I know it's out of focus and leaching 80 year old chemistry, but I like it anyway. I wonder if they were running from something? A little harmless prank, hurrying away before getting caught, while their less adventuress friend took pictures?
Sunday, December 2, 2012
What's a scalp treatment? What's an oil treatment? Are these the owners, or customers? Do children need scalp treatments? Did these people decide they needed a picture of the kids and decide, "Hey, I've got the perfect place for a picture. Down by the scalp treatment store." (Or is it salon?) Written in the print border, "2mo" Written on the back, "June 9, 1946"