Blue Snow and The Cyanotype Photograph

Photographer unknown. Vintage cyanotype, c.1905. Available here Ever wonder what snowy landscapes would look like if newly fallen snow were a color other than white? In the 19th century, a photographic process known as cyanotypes became popular and images such as the one above, of Mt. Hood in Oregon, turned a winter white scene into a magical blue landscape. The cyanotype process which produces the distinctive Prussian blue color was invented by Sir John Hershcel in 1842. He treated a light sensitive paper with an iron salt solution and found that by putting the paper in the sun the photo positive image would appear. Because the treated paper could be developed using only the sun, making cyanotype photographs were popular... Read more

Meet Sideshow Star, Koo Koo The Bird Girl!

Koo Koo The Bird Girl,c.1930, from Sideshow Stars CollectionLike many vintage photo and ephemera collectors, I am fascinated with images of the 'other' such as circus performers and 'freaks'. Above is a rare 1930 photograph of Koo Koo The Bird Girl. Her real name was 'Minnie Woolsey and she was born in Georgia in 1880. She was born with Virchow-Seckel syndrome, a condition also known as bird-headed dwarfism. In addition to her unusual face, she was blind, mentally handicapped, toothless, and practically hairless. The story goes that she was rescued from a a Georgia insane asylum by an huckster showman and began her stage career as "Minnie Ha-Ha". She was dressed in a phony American Indian costume and spoke jibberish to sideshow audiences. In 1932, Minnie landed a... Read more 3 comments Barbara Levine, freaks, koo koo the bird girl, vintage circus photos

Rock and Roll Donuts!

According to food writer, Julie R. Thomson of The Huffington Post, National Donut Day is celebrated both in June and in November. To celebrate take a look at this 1956 press photo issued by the Donut Institute in NYC. The photograph shows Lu Anne Warren,  a contestant for the nineteenth annual National Donut Week Queen. A highlight that year was  introducing the "new size in the hole of donuts". According to the press release, the new size was tailored to a "younger generation of dunkers influenced by the current rock and roll music craze".  Cheers to rock music, donuts and dunking! Collection of Barbara Levine /  Questions? email me: Read more

Simone de Beauvoir & Jean Paul Sarte in Photo Shooting Gallery

Above is a photograph of the philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre taken at the Porte d' Orleans fairground in Paris in 1929. They are at a carnival attraction known as the photographic shooting gallery. Popular after World War I, the skill game required the player shoot and hit the center of a target and if they did, a camera shutter would trigger and the winner would get a photograph of him or herself (shooting the gun).  How de Beauvoir hit the target with her eyes closed is a mystery! The analogies between shooting a gun and shooting a camera have always fascinated artists and intellectuals. The photograph above and many others including work by contemporary artists were... Read more Jean Paul Sarte, photographic shooting gallery, Simone de Beauvoir

Early 3D Photo Statuettes: Photograph, Doll & Sculpture

 Collection of Barbara Levine / I collect vernacular photography including photographic objects and vintage photo statuettes. An American invention from the Depression era, a photo statuette (also known as a “humanette”) was a lifelike figurine made from a photograph laminated onto a wooden cut-out and coated with a durable finish. Often the maker would hand color the photograph for an even more lifelike appearance.Advertised in magazines like “Popular Mechanics” as a way to transform an ordinary snapshot into an “immortal” keepsake, these oddities are somewhere between a photo, a doll and sculpture. Photo statuettes in many ways are the miniature cousins of life size cardboard cutouts—the kind found in American amusement parks depicting movie stars, next to which one... Read more « Newer articles 1 2 3 4 5 6 16 Older articles »