A simple smile can make a significant change. Apparently, it can sometimes also “break the internet.” A photo from the late 19th century has recently emerged and quickly went viral. Unlike most photos from that era, it contains something so small, yet so powerful: a smile.
Many years ago, Joan Tortorici Ruppert’s mother handed her a box full of negatives. You see, Joan’s father was an avid photographer, and Joan began to be interested in it too. So, her mom wanted her to have these photos that he’d taken and developed back in the late 1930s.
Joan took this “time capsule” and carefully scanned all the photos. She did it all without a lightbox, enlarger or a scanner, but she came up with a DIY approach that let her quickly cull through hundreds of negatives. And finally, she ended up with an admirable collection of black and white photos that show life as it was in pre-war Chicago.
French photographer Mathieu Stern has shown us some weird, funny, inspiring and gorgeous projects and images so far. And the latest one made me kind of emotional. Mathieu found a time capsule from1900 in his old family house. Among other things, it contained glass plate negatives – and he decided to develop them. In the video, he shows you how he did it using cyanotype, and you can also see the beautiful images he ended up with.
I’ve always been fascinated with the conservation process and how delicate and complex it is. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy this video from The Museum of Modern Art. In this video, conservator of photographs Lee Ann Daffner will guide you through a process of conserving one of the oldest objects in NoMA’s collection: an almost 200-year-old daguerreotype.
In my work travels, I recently met someone who gave me an interesting gift. Several years back he had been driving down a back road in Virginia and came across an old, abandoned farmhouse. He stopped and peeked in to see if anyone was using the place (you can’t be too careful about what you run across that looks abandoned these days), and saw only cobwebs. He went in and found an interesting box:
Whether you’re learning about history or looking for inspiration, historic images are always interesting to browse through. The Arab Image Foundation is digitizing its collection. Out of half a million images, now you can access and download 22,000 of them from an online gallery – and there are more to come.
1,270 of 41,000 glass negatives created by Hitler’s personal photographer and “key propagandist”, Heinrich Hoffman have been scanned into the US National Archives. Many of these negatives were broken and had to be reassembled in a process taking around 9 months to complete, overseen by Richard E. Schneider.
Grab your phone, open the front-facing camera, strike a pose, click, and you’re done. It takes only a few seconds to take the perfect selfie nowadays, but what was it like a century ago? Well, if you wanted to get into the shot, it took a bit more effort than today. And in a photo that recently emerged on Reddit, you can see a creative photographer who figured out a clever way to include himself in the shot.
Old photos are a strong witness of history and of past times. National Geographic has recently published a century old photos of Antarctica, made before we were in the midst of strong climate changes. Photographer Herbert Ponting took the photos of the coldest continent in the early 20th century, a hundred years ago. They don’t only show the landscapes of Antarctica, but also the animals, explorers of the Terra Nova expedition, and their ships. All these photos testify of the era that’s now so far behind us. And not only are they valuable – they are also beautiful.
Using her photography and photo manipulation skills, photographer Karen Alsop created her version of a time travel. When her mother found a photo of Karen’s Great Great Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandmother, it made Karen wonder: what it would be like to meet her ancestors, sit down and talk to them? Even more, how incredible it would be for her kids to meet them? And so, the idea was born.
She had a photo shoot with her two children and photoshopped them into the photo her mom had found, which dates back to the early 1900’s. The final result is incredible, and when she shared it on Facebook, most of her family and friends thought that the kids are the relatives who only resemble her children.
Karen has kindly shared the details about the entire process with us. From the photo shoot to compositing and colorizing the final image, even some BTS shots. It was a long and demanding task, but it was well worth the result.