Photo Essays, Spot News and Stock Photography

Posts from the ‘Documentary’ category

Original version in sepia.


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”.


Version #2

Version #2


Version #3

Version #3

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As seen from John Ford Point.


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.

The Nurse


and I’m all out of bubble gum”. The movie line, of course, is from “They Live” (1988) starring Roddy Piper and Keith David. Game over folks. According to a CNN report today 91,000 people have died in the U. S. since the reopening. There’s a killer on the loose, and he’s hungry. This is not a macho thing. Wearing a mask will not last forever, but it is the smart move perhaps one of the few moves that will save us until better days have come. I’m not asking you to wear a mask or imploring you to wear a mask, I am telling you to wear the mask! The first person that we lay eyes on upon entering this world is wearing a mask, “The Nurse“; U. S. c.1920. Unfortunately, for some of us the last person that we may see when we leave this world will also be wearing a mask, but this time with the addition of gloves and a face shield as well. Don’t be stupid. Follow the science.



O. K. I get it. The virus is like carbon monoxide. Invisible, colorless, oderless. Why should I wear a mask? Some people are just non-believers in science. Thrill seekers. These folks just have to look over the edge at the precipice in California despite the warning sign. Can we assume they they are illiterate? That they cannot understand the meaning of the word danger? I think not. So for varied reasons not everyone will wear a mask despite the overwhelming evidence that wearing a mask will save lives, maybe even their own.

Danger“; California c.1990

Coal Miners of West Virginia


A new addition to our coal collection is “Coal Miners of West Virginia” c.1900. Our collection includes images of coal miners, coal mines, coaling operations, coal miners’ housing and so forth. But the image in this blog is special. To us it seems that the photographic style of the photo was similar to that used by Lewis Hine. Note the ages of most of the miners. Boys! Because of the dangerous conditions associated with working in the mines including cave-ins and in particular “black lung” disease, most miners did not live past their 40s. Coal dust is evident on the noses of these miners. I find their eyes telling. Look at the stare of several of these men.

Beograd, Serbia c.1960


An issue that more and more of us can now relate to as a result of the impact of COVID19. As we line up at the food bank each morning we connect with those around the world for whom hunger is endemic. This photo “Hunger” c.1960 connects us to the work of Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression. Perhaps we are not that far removed from another Depression as what goes around comes around albeit in a slightly different format.

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The Kiss (July 1948)


Alfred Eisenstaedt would have probably be awarded the Pulitizer Prize in 1945 for his Times Square photo were it not for Joe Rosenthal’s photo “Flag Raising on Iwo Jima” on Mt. Suribachi. Eisenstaedt’s photo was of the sailor kissing a nurse – “V-J Day in Times Square” a/k/a “V-J Day” a/k/a “The Kiss”. It remains one of the most recognizable photos ever taken. Maybe it’s foolish to even try to compete with these masters of photography, but it does not stop us from trying. DPI’s photo “The Kiss” (July 1948) might have been influenced by Eisenstaedt. This romantic couple’s smooch occurred nearly three years following Eisenstaedt’s photo which was published in Life. I have a sense that there might have been a connection to the church across the street (Episcopal Church of the Incarnation). We are left to wonder if the couple participated in a happy event at the church such as a wedding or a baptism.

The Kiss (July 1948)