Friday, August 30, 2013
Winning the peace is hard. No matter how tough the war is, if you don't win the peace it's all for naught. Roosevelt, Truman, Marshall, and Eisenhower understood that, Bush Jr., not so much. My guess, North Africa, around 1944.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Believe it or not, I recognize the location of photo number 2. The mountain ridge is called Twin Peaks, take the trail from Three Points, hang a right after five miles, descend to the saddle, and make your way to the notch on the left side of the picture. The trail to the top isn't really maintained. It's probably not even a real route, just a somewhat worn path cross country hikers use. And before I forget, the road is California Route 2, also know as the Angeles Crest Highway, San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County. Yes, this is L.A.
Written on the back of the first photo in the column, "We stopped here & put the chains on. Jan 31, 1932" The second, "Frank (Lois's B.F.), Lois, La Veta, Ernest & I enjoying our lunch. Jan 31, 1932" And the last, "Look out Lois from above. Jan 31, 1932"
If I don't make it back to the antique store with some more money, this is going to be the smallest collection I have, but it is part of greater lot of photos. Click on "new Californians" in the labels selection to see all of one other image.
Monday, August 26, 2013
I've been looking for vintage passports, full of stamps, for a long time. I don't know why, but they're really hard to find. This isn't quite what I've been searching for, but it's a start. A single page, a mining engineer, born in Japan, but with a very English name. His father must have been living there when he was born. It's hard to tell if he was part Asian with that weird bird cage drawing on his face, but his family, clearly, wasn't.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
I've brought this issue up before, but it's worth repeating. In photography, what's the difference between the original and a copy? In a medium that's designed to be endlessly reproduce-able, is it even a valid question?
I picked up these three postcards from an EBay dealer. It was a couple of years ago, and I can't remember all the details, but I do remember that they were advertised as vintage postcards. Imagine my disappointment when I opened the envelope only to discover that they were modern reproductions. But then again, postcards often had decades long production runs? Just because the production method had changed from the classic linen type, well, they're still images that date back to the first several decades of the twentieth century. A postcard collector would feel cheated, but my main interest was the image itself. And since they look the same as an actual vintage card, what's the difference?
During the great depression, the FSA, The Farm Security Administration, hired some of the best American photographers of the era to travel around the country and document what was happening on farms and in small, rural towns. The negatives were shipped back to the FSA, and today are housed in The Library of Congress. Sometimes the photographers were able to print their own negatives, sometimes they were printed by unknown government employees in Washington. As I've mentioned in many a post, I spent years working in darkrooms. Give me the right equipment, and the right paper, and I can make prints almost indistinguishable from the first prints made in the 1930s. Printers are still making prints from original FSA negatives, or first or second generation copy negatives. Are they copies rather than originals because those new prints weren't made at the time the negative was exposed? If so, what's the time frame for an original print?
I don't want to go into too many details. A photographer, far better known for his work in other media, was a client at one of my former employers. He was what we called a button pusher. He had money to buy lots of film, and he took lots of pictures, almost at random. He'd send in his film, I'd process it and make proof sheets. Every so often, I'd get a request for a print from one of his negatives. So, I'd make him a print. The thing is, I was the one who made the decision on crop, contrast, density, dodging and burning. I'd send him an 8x10 print on resin coated paper, he'd okay it, (I can't remember him ever asking for something different.) and then I'd make another print on fiber base paper. I know for a fact that some of the prints I made for him have ended up in both private and museum collections. If another printer were to match my originals, what is it? A copy? What if another printer made a print from one of those negatives with a different crop, hotter, flatter, lighter? Then what is it? A whole new work? And what of the photographer himself? Since he's letting other people make editorial choices, are the photos made from his camera original negatives wholly his work? Copyright law would say yes, but I'm not so sure.
It's easy with a painting. If another artist comes along and makes a copy, it's just a copy. But with a photograph, it's not so straight forward.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I admit to a certain level of frustration as I begin the long slog to post 2,000. Once again I've run across that old hatred of mine, a dealer who breaks up a collection as a means of increasing profit. Most times it's more minor irritant than major hatred. A bunch of snapshots, often pulled from an old album, that aren't all that interesting. Yes, it would have been nice to see some sort of context, but let's be honest, how many of us actually lead fascinating lives, and how many of us are able to record that life in photos.
And then I run across something like this. I dropped by an antique mall I sometimes visit and found some photos, and some album pages, from the people in this picture. New arrivals to California, and their life on the west coast. What I would have paid to see their story laid out, in order, in front of me! Sadly, I only had a couple of bucks to spend, and only ended up with four photos and none of the album pages. Who knows what will be left when I get some more cash.
Written on the back, "1930 when we first moved to California." Two or three posts from now, I'll publish the other three. They show a trip, and go together. With any luck, I'll be able to buy more, from this group, in the future. For now, all will have the tag," new Californians" in the labels section a t the bottom of the post.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I started The New Found Photography as a way to impose some sort of order on a mess of a collection. While I've added text from the very first post, I expected few visitors, no comments, no followers, and I sure as hell never expected to hit the 1,000 post milestone. The fifteen photographs that I've chosen to re-post, to mark the occasion, are far from representative. Are they my favorites? They are right now, but if I made a choice tomorrow, there would be changes. They're not the most popular. A couple of them have had a lot of views, and some, almost none. Is there a post number 2,000 in the future? I've still got a lot of photos in the collection that have never seen the light of day. And, despite my ever shrinking income, I still visit antique stores, thrift shops, EBay, garage sales, estate sales, and flea markets. Who knows where it will all end.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
When my mother referred to someone as part of the horse set, she meant they were among the useless rich; people who had so much money, they could afford to spend all their time riding horses. I don't know anything about the people in these photos. For all I know, they worked hard, had professions, and were generous with their money. What I do know is that these photos were taken in southern California, probably from the twenties.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Well, that's the question penciled on the bottom border of the photo. Take a close look at the two ladies. On the right, stockings and women's shoes. On the left, trousers and men's shoes underneath the dress. Perhaps a better question would be; Which one is Ruby? Dated "1923"
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Every so often, I like to throw one of these mystery location photos out into the blog universe in hope that someone out there will recognize where it was shot. The kneeling people suggest a church, as does the building facade. The only info on the back of the photo is a stamp, "16.4.73" which i'm interpreting as 16 April 1973. Not an American (By that I mean United States.) usage, but where? And finally, this one came from the grab bag of photos, an envelope of pictures I bought, unseen, with 100 snapshots. The grab bag was bought is southern California, so that might give an edge to Mexico or central America. Of course, that's far from certain. California has a lot of immigrants from places other than Latin America, and throw in tourism, in the end , it's all just guess work.
Monday, August 12, 2013
I haven't put up one of these for awhile. Unlike my other souvenir photo folders, this one isn't for a nightclub, but for "THE FIFTH ARMY OFFICERS' REST HOTEL, HOTEL ANGLO AMERICAN-FLORENCE" Personally, I would have put the hyphen between Anglo and America, but that's me. .
A rest hotel for army officers is just what it sounds like. When not on duty, officers of the Fifth Army in Italy could check into the hotel, set aside for their exclusive use, and have fun. Real beds, clean sheets, plentiful food from the United States, booze, and a liberal policy on female companionship. And why not. My mother was a war bride from England, the marriage didn't work out, and she delighted in pointing out how Americans didn't take the war and suffering seriously. "Everything was a lark to you Americans." My father took a far different attitude to the discussion. "You're twenty, you might die next week, you'd be a fool not to get in as much pleasure as possible." I have to say, dad made a lot more sense to me.
Now known as U.S. Army North, the Fifth Army was activated on January 5, 1943 in Oujda, French Morocco, and was part of the allied invasion of Italy. The Fifth's first commander was Lt. General Mark W. Clark. The Fifth's overall theater commander, in the Mediterranean, was British Field Marshall, Harold Alexander. Clark and Alexander didn't get along. Alexander thought that Clark was liberal in the way he interpreted orders, especially his liberation of Rome. Clark, on the other hand, was bitter over what he thought was an unnecessary order to destroy the monastery at Monte Cassino. Legitimate strategic disputes, or two warring egos? Who knows. In the end, over all supreme commander, Dwight Eisenhower, was content to let things be.
The Hotel Anglo American is still there, and still in business. It's on Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. Rooms can be had from 74.80 Euros, breakfast and free Wi-Fi included.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Why would anyone save an old Christmas tag? The only photo in this lot with any writing on the back is the first in the column. "A school boy age 13." He mustn't have made much of an impression.
Click on NTSNC in the labels section to see the whole collection.
Stamped on the back of the first print in the column, "Koen Studio, Plainview, Texas" Two teachers on summer break? Could be. I know it's hard to read flopped printing, but take a close look at the bottom boarder on the second photo. "NITRATE FILM" Camera film base was once made of nitrates, a highly flammable, unstable concoction that, over time, would liquefy. Motion picture nitrate film stock was considered so dangerous that it wasn't allowed on buses, planes, or passenger trains. Film companies would eventually develop safety film, and end the danger of nitrate film caused movie theater fires. And the bottom picture...Well, it's possible that the boy was named Emma. I went to school with a guy named Janet. His mother died in child birth, and he was named for her. Looking back on it, it was kind of cruel. Every time he signed his name, it was a reminder that his mother died when he was born. In any case, written on the back, "To Aunt Etta. Rotan, age 14." Rotan isn't much better than Emma.
Click on NTSNC in the labels section at the bottom of the post to bring up the collection.
Is there no end to this collection? Why yes, there is. Just not today. One of the adults in the class picture could be the owner of this album. Wish I knew. As usual, click on NTSNC in the labels section at the bottom of the post to bring up the whole lot.