Masks we wear, Frightening Fridays!

In celebration for everyone’s favorite holiday, for every Friday in October, we will be posting some spooky images from the ICP collection. This week:

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Man Leading Man Wearing a Mask and Holding a Cane], ca. 1875, 2007.52.2

In addition to the spook factor, this mask is very mysterious! One of the men seems to be leading the man wearing the mask who also has a cane. Is the mask covering some heinous deformity? Burn marks? The mind reels…



Unidentified Photographer, [Two Cadets Wearing Masks in Mock Sword Fight], ca. 1875, 2008.81.48

Perhaps less frightening than the last, this image of two soldiers  is also mysterious. A theater troupe? Political commentary? Two friends goofing off?

Unidentified Photographer, [Four Hanging Heads], ca. 1880, 2007.54.6

Finally, this last image is the OPPOSITE of the photographs above, but these creepies are masking their bodies to create some spooky floating heads.

Happy pre-Halloween!

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Robert Capa, [Henri Matisse with cat curled between his legs, working from his bed, (Cimiez) Nice, France.] August 1949, 3328.1992

Robert Capa, [Henri Matisse in bed working, his black cat at his feet, (Cimiez) Nice, France.] August 1949, 3329.1992

Far more interesting, both for Capa and for the viewer, are his pictures of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Every morning for a week in August 1948, while he was vacationing on the Riviera, Capa went with Picasso, Francoise Gilot, and their one-year-old son Claude to the beach at Golf-Juan, where he took some wonderful, playful pictures of the family. The following August he returned to Picasso’s unpretentious villa in Vallauris, near Atibes, with Gjon Mili, who wanted to photograph the artist drawing in the air with a flashlight. Working in a darkened room, Mili would be able to capture the ephemeral drawings on time exposures. [Mili's photo of Picasso painting with light can be seen here.] Picasso was intrigued by the idea – and delighted with the results. [Mili's photo of Matisse painting with light can be seen here.] Meanwhile, Capa went to Cimiez, a suburb of Nice, to photograph the seventy-nine-year old Matisse [Mili's photo of Matisse for LIFE can be seen here] in his apartment in the grand Victorian Hotel Regina, where he was working on decorations for the chapel [Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence] of the Dominican convent in Vence. Capa photographed the artist as he worked sitting up in bed, surrounded by art, books, and cats. But Matisse was far from bedridden; Capa’s most memorable picture shows him grasping one end of a seven-foot-long bamboo pole tipped with charcoal to draw on a huge sheet of paper tacked to the wall, a working method that must have demanded considerable strength and extraordinary control.

Robert Capa, [Henri Matisse], 1949

Robert Capa, [Henri Matisse], 1949

While they were on the Riviera, Capa and Mili stayed at the house in Antibes that Irwin Shaw and his wife had rented for the summer, but they were hardly ideal house guests. The Shaws never knew when the photographers were going to show up for meals or whom they might bring home, for they often picked up girls on the beach and brought them home to spend the night. In the morning Shaw would have to steal clothes from his wife’s closet for these girls to wear so that they could leave without creating a local scandal. When objections about any of his behavior were raised, Capa would apply his Hungarian charm – and, Shaw later wrote, you would not only forgive him but also “lend him the two hundred dollars he needed to replace the two hundred dollars you had just lent him the night before and which he had promptly lost at the casino in Cannes.” Finally, Marion Shaw gave her husband an ultimatum: as much as she liked Capa, he and Mili had to go.

Richard Whelan, Robert Capa, A Biography, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985, pp. 276-7

(Capa was a cut up and Mattise was making cut outs… More Mattiseterpieces: MoMA’s Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs website.)

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Discovery of the New World

















Attributed to Celestino Degoix, [Monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus. The navigator is portrayed in 15th century clothes with the left arm leaning on an anchor. At the foot of the statue stands an allegoric female figure, Genoa, Italy], 1862-ca. 1875 (640.1983.qq)


Unidentified Photographer, The Four Great Chief’s Now Living, 1909 (2006.20.383)


Morris Gordon, [Italian-American mothers carry flags to honor their sons who have served, Columbus Day ceremony, New York], 1942 (2013.112.138)

The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus first set foot in the “New World” when he discovered the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. An event that is celebrated in New York each year during Columbus Day on the second Monday of October. The Italian explorer never traveled that far North to reach North America, nevertheless was being commemorated in the United States since the 1700s, after the country gained independence from Great Britain.

The Italian-American community has been celebrating Columbus Day in honor of their heritage, roughly since the late nineteenth century. The first wave of Italian immigrants settled into the major cities during the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century, during which they experienced severe and violent racism and discrimination. When in 1892 President Benjamin Harrison first called on the national commemoration of Columbus Day –in celebration of Columbus’ 400-year anniversary to discover the New World- the Italian-American community saw this celebration of the achievements of their Italian countryman as a way to be accepted by their fellow American citizens.

Over the years criticism about celebrating Columbus Day, and specifically Christopher Columbus for his accomplishments, has become increasingly loud. The celebratory biographies from the nineteenth century heralded Columbus as a generous and adventurous individual, who treated the native community with pride and respect. Today it is known among both academics and the public that the explorer was a greedy and racist man who tortured the indigenous population and sold them into slavery. Over the past decades more and more states have chosen to rename Columbus Day and refer to the holiday as Indigenous Peoples Day (Berkley, California), Native Americans Day (South Dakota) and Discovery Day (Hawaii).



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Centenary of World War One

Martin Munkacsi, [Car offering battlefield tours, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.713)

Martin Munkacsi, [Car offering battlefield tours, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.2450)

Martin Munkacsi, [Tourist buses and automobiles outside St. Martin's Cathedral, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.709)

Martin Munkacsi, [Tour buses to World War I battle sights, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.705)

Martin Munkacsi, [Group looking at World War I tank, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.710)

Martin Munkacsi, [Memorial to fallen World War I soldiers, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.708)

To commemorate the centenary of the start of World War One I’ve created a few blog posts that feature slightly uncommon or lesser known photos of the consequences (personal, political, and physical) of The Great War. The above photos, made about ten years after the end of the Great War, show civilians seeking battle sights, honoring and paying tribute to dead soldiers, and rebuilding in Belgium.

Ypes/Ieper, Belgium is the center of the map in the second photograph, the sign reads: “Taxi. For. Hire. guide to all the cemeteries.” this was two decades before the beginning of the annual Ieper Festival of Cats (Kattenstoet).

Related and recent:
“Vintage London bus retraces battle routes through Ypres” on the BBC.
“Belgians Share Their Land With War’s Reminders” on the NY Times.

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New York on the Edge by Charles H. Traub

Charles H. Traub, 12th St. Manhattan, 1988, (437.1991)

Charles H. Traub, Plum Beach, Brooklyn, 1989, (444.1991)

Charles H. Traub, 42nd St. Manhattan, 1989, (445.1991)

Charles H. Traub, Queensbridge Park, New York, 1988, (446.1991)

Charles H. Traub, Carl Schunz Park, Manhattan, 1988, (449.1991)

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I love animals!

wendt_frank_2011_47_93 copy
Frank Wendt, Mascot, the Talking Horse, Trained by Prof. H.S. Maguire, ca. 1900 (2011.47.93)

Lisette Model, Promenade des Anglais, 1937 (79.1993)

Weegee, [L. McAfee holding Cheetah during the filming of Tarzan's Peril, Hollywood], ca. 1951 (18710.1993)

Weegee, Village Type, ca. 1956 (17104.1993)

Weegee, [Woman kissing rabbit], ca. 1956 (17109.1993)

Aleksandras Macijauskas, In the Market – 124, (from the series Lithuanian Market), 1975 (1138.1986.r)

Mascot Gets Spoony
In the presence of the entire audience the human horse kisses his master.

The wise ones are puzzling their heads over the wonderful performance put over by the human horse MASCOT.
To many the subject “Do Animals Reason’ has been solved beyond a doubt. But the more skeptical refuse to believe their own eyes and think there is some hidden communication between the noble animal, and his master. Anyhow, all agree that the horse is a marvel of intelligence, and that he is trained to a nicety.
“Mascot” told time to the second; added columns of figures that some in the audience could not calculate, picked out the democrats from the republicans; could tell a spinster from a married woman, a bachelor from a benedict; could spoon to perfection; play ball like a professional; eat candy like a connoisseur; count like a mathematician, and in short, displayed all the physical phenomena that go to make up the sum total of a human mind…
But the climax of the whole performance came when Mr. Maguire asked “Mascot,” what young men did when they went to see their best girls.
Without a moment’s hesitation, “Mascot” puckered, and right in the presence of the entire audience, he gave his master as loving a kiss as ever bride gave [her] groom.
There were those who sat near who declared they heard it smack, but this could not be vouched for.

The above is from an amazing brochure, “‘Mascot’ the $50,000.00 horse: with H.S. Maguire, trainer,” (1904/1932) it can be found at the University of Iowa Libraries.
More about osculating equines on the pioneering and seminal Dull Tool Dim Bulb.

A horse is a horse, of course of course,
and no one can talk to a horse of course,
that is of course, unless the horse,
Is the famous Mister Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse.
He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.
He’s always on a steady course.
Talk to Mister Ed.

People yak-it-ti-yak a streak
and waste your time of day,
but Mister Ed will never speak,
unless he has something to say.

A horse is a horse, of course of course,
And this one will talk ’til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?
Well, listen to this!”

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Rare Japanese Propaganda Magazines Added to ICP Archive


Shashin Shuho, March 5, 1941 (2014.38.1)


Shashin Shuho, July 9, 1942 (2014.38.15)

Shashin Shuho, June 18, 1941, p. 2 (2014.38.2)

Shashin Shuho, January 21, 1942, p. 4 (2014.38.15)

Shashin Shuho, August 6, 1941 (2014.38.4)

Among the holdings of the collection of the International Center of Photography is an   important archive of photo-illustrated periodicals from the 1930s and 1940s. These weekly news magazines—many of which are now quite rare–chronicle the rise of photojournalism and photomontage and include such pioneering efforts as USSR in Construction (Russia), Life (US), AIZ (Germany), Vu (France), Estampa (Spain), and Picture Post (England). Recently, we acquired a run of 36 early issues of Shashin Shuho (Photo Weekly), an important World War II-era Japanese propaganda organ published by the government’s Naikaku Johobu (Cabinet Information Division) between 1937 and 1945. The goal of this well-designed and widely distributed publication was to encourage nationalist sentiments as Japan engaged in wars with China and the Allies. While the subject matter of Shashin Shuho ranges from features on a local swim team to dramatic celebrations of Japan’s growing military prowess, the photographs and layouts (mostly by unidentified artists) are always visually arresting. Throughout the war, Shashin Shuho maintained its upbeat patriotic message. Then, in July 1945, just before the bombing of Hiroshima and the end of the war, Shashin Shuho abruptly stopped publishing. These rare publications, many of which were destroyed during World War II, represent an important record of highly effective journalistic propaganda created using the most advanced standards of mid-twentieth-century photojournalism and graphic design.

Chief Curator Brian Wallis


Shashin Shuho, January 21, 1942 (2014.38.15)

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