Saturday, June 28, 2014

Malaria Girls 3

This is a very small collection, and it ends with these final four photos.  The top two are dated "NOV 60," just like all the ones already posted.  The bottom two, "FEB 61"  I've titled these photos malaria girls because of a visible poster about malaria in the first of the three posts.  The reality is that I have no idea what these women are doing.  I've speculated that they're public health workers because of the shoulder patches on their uniforms.  I've seen lots of photos of hospital nurses, and I've never seen an emblem of any kind.  And as far as malaria goes, it's just as possible that these nurses (I stand by that guess.) are dealing with anything from cholera to the common cold.

Now, back to malaria.  According to the CDC, from 1957 to 2011,  there have been 63 local outbreaks of malaria in the United States.  According to a 2012 article in the SF Gate, while outbreaks of malaria have been declining in tropical countries, they've been increasing in the United States, with 1,925 reported cases in 2011.   And no, they're not concentrated in our own tropical areas like south Florida and Louisiana.  U.S. cases have their origin in international travel.  It's New York City that's  ground zero for American malaria outbreaks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Malaria Girls 2

The woman in the top photo seems to be wearing a somewhat different outfit than the rest of the malaria girls.  Is she a research subject?  The bottom picture is a bit frustrating.  I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a vertical.  I keep thinking she's looking into a microscope.  But what's really maddening is the shoulder patch.  If it wasn't out of focus I'd know who these women were.

Dated "NOV 60"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Malaria Girls 1

My first thought when I looked at this collection, nursing school, but then I took a closer look at the third photo in this post and saw a few women that were a bit old to be students.  There's a poster that can be seen in the first two photos. (They're not the same.  Slightly different poses.)  "The malaria cycle."  So, lab technicians or public health workers?  I'm leaning towards some sort of public health team made up of nurses.  If these women were lab rats, I doubt they'd be wearing uniforms.  All dated, "NOV  60."

Any all girl punk bands searching for a name, feel free to use Malaria Girls.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Barbecue Season

Yesterday was the first day of summer, so it's officially barbecue season.  A quick piece of advice.  It's not the fifties anymore, so you don't have to dress up.  Although those cat's eye sunglasses still work.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


I look at this man and see a dim witted serial killer.  I know that's unlikely, but it's what I imagine.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Studio Portrait

Collect photographs long enough, and you'll run into a lot of these old studio portraits.  No name, no date and no studio name.  Can't remember where or when I bought this one.  Best guess, from the twenties.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

R.M.S. Aquitania

Both of these photos are labeled, "Aboard Aquitania."  There are no names or dates on these two pictures, so there's nothing for me to look up about the passengers, but it was pretty easy to find information about the ship.

R.M.S. Aquitania, owned by The White Star Line, was launched in 1913, and had it's maiden voyage between England and New York in May 1914. Along with the Mauretania and Lusitania, it was one of the grand trio of White Star liners, and was known as the ship beautiful.  It completed only three round trips before being taken over by the British Admiralty during World War 1.  Aquitania's war service started as an armed merchant cruiser, then as a hospital ship, and finally a troop transport.  After the war, it was returned to The White Star Line, and resumed passenger service on the north Atlantic run.

 The 1920s was the last great age of express ocean passenger service.  While the United States had begun restricting emigration, a major profit center for ocean liners, Aquitania had enough first and second class passengers, as well as mail contracts, to operate in the black.  After the stock market crash of 1929, Aquitania became more of a cruise ship, taking passengers on holiday to the Mediterranean.  It was quite popular with Americans and, during prohibition, became famous as a booze cruiser.

 In 1940, Cunard White Star (The two companies had merged in 1934.) had planned to retire Aquitania and replace it with R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth, but the second world war gave the ship a few extra years of service as a troop transport, mostly in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.  After the war, Aquitania was used to transport war brides and their children to Halifax, Canada.  In 1949, the ship was once again returned to it's civilian owners.  Poor maintenance during the depression and the war had taken it's toll.  The deck plating leaked in rough seas, some of the bulkheads were so corroded that a fist could be pushed through the metal.  During a party, a piano fell through the floor.  In December of 1949, Aquitania was taken out of service, and was scrapped in 1950.  Aquitania was the last four stacker (smoke stacks)  in regular service.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Lineman

Before I forget, Wichita Lineman by Cassandra Wilson.  Well worth a listen.

I love photographs of people at physical work.  It looks like this guy is putting in power lines to the oil fields.  But which oil fields?  I bought this picture in southern California, so don't think Texas or Oklahoma.  SoCal was, at one time, every bit the oil patch.  Beverly Hills High School has an on campus oil well that helps pay for the rich kids education.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I didn't see any Shriners!

This story might not make sense to those who don't know southern California.  I like bicycles.  I like them a lot.  Yesterday I went out for a very long ride.  The Atwater Village neighborhood of L.A. to Fontana in San Bernardino County.  Depending on the route, a 115 to 120 mile round trip.  Now, for the non cyclists out there, that seems like a huge trip, but it's not.  I'm 59 and haven't had a 30, 31, 32, or a 33 inch waist for a very long time.  In short, I'm not even close to being some sort of iron man athlete.  We live in a world were people drive distances more than four or five blocks away, so we've all come to believe that any sort of trip beyond that distance, that doesn't include a car,  is some sort of heroic trek.  It's not.  In the nineteenth century, before Henry Ford and the Model T came along, people, especially rural people, often walked twenty or thirty miles a day.

Anyway, back to the story.  I made it to Fontana without any problem, but on the return trip, my bike chain snapped.  I zeroed out the bike computer, and started pushing.  Nine miles latter, I was at the Montclair Transit Center waiting for a train.  Now, I've got lots of photographs in the collection.  I've never counted them, but there are thousands of photos sitting in my files.  As I was waiting for the next train back to downtown Los Angeles, I thought, "Where are the Shriners?"  How strange the human mind that this one, very insignificant photo, should have come to mind.  Truthfully, I'm not sure it would ever have been posted here if my bike chain hadn't snapped.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Train Station

At first glance, it's just another institutional type building, and printed from a damaged negative to boot.  Then, the rail line can be seen in the left background.  But it's the parked cars, horse and wagon, luggage carts, and  bicycle that makes this a fun picture.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Stone & Steccati


I did a bit of research and was able to dig up some info on the Stone/Steccati partnership.  Herbert Dean Stone was born in 1918, in Alameda, California, but raised in Berkeley.  He attended The California College of Arts and Crafts from 1936 to 1940.  During World War 2, Stone served in the merchant marine.  After the war, he and Hugo Steccati opened their studio in San Francisco, specializing in portraits, architectural and commercial product photography.  The partnership ended in 1989.  Stone was also a member of The Bohemian Club for forty years.  He retired to Sonoma, California, and died in 2009, in an assisted living home in Mendocino.  He was 91.

I found less about Hugo Steccati.  He graduated, with honors, from The California College of Arts and Crafts in 1938.  I don't know when he was born, and when he died.  He did the photography for Table Settings: East Meets West in 1991.  A book about, yes, you guessed it, table settings.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Grandma Mary

I have, on occasion, written about the difference between copy and original in a medium designed to be endlessly reproducible.  Back when I was working full time at a photo lab, one of our customers walked in with a camera original Ansel Adams negative.  I have no idea how he got it; purchase, gift, or theft. Nevertheless, it was my job to match the original print, made by Adams, with nothing more than a coffee table book for reference, and if that book was an accurate representation of the Adam's print, I did a pretty good job.  So, was it an original print or a copy?

Most art collectors would want a print made by the photographer, or printed under his or her direct supervision.  But the fact is, a lot of very good and very famous photographers turn their negatives over to people they don't know for printing.  Go to a museum, or it's website, and look at their photography collections.  You'll see it over and over again, photo by whoever, 1936, printed in 1983, five years after the photographer's death.  So, is it a copy or an original?

Written on the back of this Polaroid, and with out a doubt, copy of an old chromo-lithograph, "Grandmother Mary Keoster."  

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Graduate (Not the Movie)

I missed graduation season by about a week, but hey, better late than never.  I have no idea when these were shot, but they're real photo postcards, so let's guess no latter than the 1950s.  But, as I've cautioned before, if photographic materials are stored correctly, they can be used decades after manufacture.  Just last month, I successfully shot and processed a twenty year old roll of Kodak Plus-X.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Posed On A Post

As I've noted before, I love pictures of people holding cameras.  This picture shows a young lady posed on a post (?) holding a camera case, rather than a camera.  Kodak made cases like this for their folding cameras from the teens, twenties and into the early thirties.  Several decades ago, I knew another young lady who had found one of these cases, added a shoulder strap and turned it into a purse.  It drove me crazy, because I wanted it for my collection of old cameras.  Too, gotta love the photographers shadow.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sunshine, My Sunshine-Not

Gotta love the penciled in editorial comment on the front of the card.  I just wonder, was it "not" in 1908, or was "not" written in by some 21st century cynic.  Anyway, it's nice to have one of these old postcards that actually has a photographers copyright.  I've posted some other cards with a De Witt C. Wheeler credit.  All I've been able to find out about the man was that he made sentimental magic lantern slides, and sold photos to postcard publishers.  This card is part of a series of cards, illustrating lyrics from popular songs, published by Theodor Eismann of Leipzig and New York.  The company was in business form 1908 to 1914.  I have no idea what put them under, but the 1914 date is telling.  I can't imagine an international publishing house surviving World War 1.  While it's true that the United States was neutral until 1917, it's also true we favored the Entente right from the start

Addressed to "Mr. J. Albion Dunlap, West Southport, Me."  And the message, "Wasn't I lucky to get a picture of you and yours.  C.E.D."  There is a postmark, but the town name is too faded to read.  I can make out, "AUG 11 AM 1908"