In a little used far corner of my home I spied a black, hard camera case. I remembered that it had some photo equipment in it, but I could not recall exactly what it was. From the accumulation of dust on the case I estimated that it had laid untouched for 10 to 15 years. What i found when I opened it was a gem! A gem!
Photojournalism is not pretty. We have discussed this issue several times in the past. The significance of an image is what counts, not the technical aspects of its reproduction. A fine example of this is Robert Capa’s “Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death” a/k/a “Falling Soldier” (Cerro Muriano, Spain Sept. 5, 1936) during the Spanish Civil War. Capa received the Pulitzer Prize for his efforts.
So our young woman leaning on a fence is likewise out of focus. Its meaning is subjective although we do not expect it to win a Pulitizer Prize. “A Windy Day on the Farm“; U. S. c.1915.
The latest addition to our “Cotton” collection is “Young Woman in the Cotton Fields“; Alabama c.1924. Our collection includes many images of plantation cotton production in the cotton fields. Although some of these images may be disturbing to some viewers they remain an important part of American history.
We are constantly searching for images of farmers at work. “John Deere in the Cornfield“; U. S. c.1950 is simply the latest addition to our collection and worthy of special recognition in our opinion. If you close your eyes you can almost see the green and yellow John Deere colors on the tractor and equipment. Almost.
Don’t get me wrong I love to eat lobster. But in looking at these lobsters in this tank the other day I began to think that maybe, just maybe we are not at the top of the food chain as we have come to believe. Like the lobster in the tank we are all just waiting our turn with nowhere to run. Maybe it’s viruses like COVID19 that are the top of the food chain. After all was it not the bacteria that destroyed the invaders in H. G. Well’s War of the Worlds?
I am not sure if there ever was a “Golden Age” for the riverboats along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, but the 1920s seems like a good place to begin the investigation. The riverboats, for me, hold a special place in American history. Unique in many ways. Presented here are two recent examples from our collection. “Riverboat” shows a sternwheeler passing under a bridge on the Ohio River near Mt. Vernon, Ohio c.1926. Love that smoke. Wood was used as fuel which is clearly visible on the dock in our photo below of the “Elinor” “Sternwheeler” at Clinton, Iowa c.1920.
These images speak for themselves.
We are committed to presenting images with the least amount of photo editing possible, using techniques only to remove blemishes and improve contrast. Some of our images are 100 years old and more, so they do need a certain amount of restoring. If you have been following DPI for years you may have noticed that we avoid even cropping unless absolute necessary such as a pole seemingly coming out of nowhere. This blog shows what is possible with photo manipulation by those not committed to pure photojournalism and documentary photography. And if we are able to present these augmented reality photos using our limited talents we can only imagine what more sophisticated photo editors are able to accomplish.
The lead photo in this blog is “Mud On The Ground“; U. S. c.1920. The original was developed using sepia printing. After 100 years it had faded somewhat so we simply refreshed the sepia with a new layer, still presenting it as close as possible to the original. In an altered version we call version #2 we replaced the bare sky with a different sky. This is a sky, in fact, that I shot several months ago in Riverhead, Long Island. It seemed to fit the situation. So we now have a blend of a color sky shot 100 years after the original sepia image. As an artistic representation I think that it has possibilities. The image of these three Dodge cars on a muddy farm road evoke scenes of the Great Depression and the migration from the Dust Bowl although that was ten years in the future from when this photo was taken. Ten years down the road as it were.
Version #3 involved converting version #2 into black and white. I think that this version is quite believable and fitting with the time in which the original photo was taken. I think there is a sense of doom represented here by the replaced sky. Bottom line is “seeing is not always believing”.
Sorry for the Superman quip it’s just that the analogy seems to fit this situation. I purchased a Nikon lens for my camera from a dealer in Narita, Japan this past Saturday afternoon at about 4 P. M. New York time so it was very early Sunday morning in Japan. Narita is 37 miles east of Tokyo, but it is also home to the Tokyo International Airport. Kudos to DHL Shipping. I have always used FedEx or UPS for shipping purposes, but this is the second time that I have bought a lens in Japan and both sellers have used DHL. Allowing for Customs processing in Japan and the U. S. the lens arrived today, Thursday at 2:15 P. M. It doesn’t get much better than that. The lens is in perfect shape. A 40 year old used lens that appears as new.
This is exactly what it looks like if you were standing there haze and all. “The Mittens at Monument Valley“; on the Navajo Nation reservation, Arizona (October 20, 2000). I stood at the same spot in August 2007. The sun is rising in the east. Appears to be about 10:00 A. M. Visitors have to leave in the early morning so as not to be affected by blowing sand and dust. What I found incredible was the complete silence of the desert, like nothing else in the world. What is also incredible is how people could survive here without electricity and running water. And now COVID-19 too! An amazing place of beauty. Photo was taken on Agfa film which is sensitive to earth tones. A good choice in this case.
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