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.
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
Maybe not exactly what they had in mind when they said we should wear a mask, but this could work! Any face covering is better than none. It just gets a little sticky when the temperature hits 90 degrees.
“Trick or Treat“; U. S. c.2000
Thank you Ol’ Blue Eyes (Frank Sinatra) – “That’s Life”. This virus doesn’t care. Rich, poor, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, race, gender or whatever. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time you will be infected. It does not discriminate. You cannot afford to make a mistake. Shown here is “BMW on the Food Line“; North Babylon High School (7/17/20).
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.