Historic American Panorama of the Moon’s Surface


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, [Panorama of the Moon's Surface with Shadow of Surveyor I], June 2, 1966. Collection International Center of Photography, Museum Purchase, 2014

With the extraordinary news of China’s successful soft landing of a lunar rover on the surface of the moon on December 14, 2013, suddenly attention turned back to the history and photography of past space exploration. China was only the third country to send back pictures from the moon’s surface and the first to land a capsule there since 1976. The Soviet Union achieved the first soft landing of a spacecraft on the moon in January 1966; four months later, in June 1966, the U.S. successfully landed its own lunar probe. ICP recently acquired from a former NASA executive a spectacular early print of one of the first photographic panoramas of the moon’s surface from that very first unmanned U.S. mission. The sweeping two-by-four foot image shows the American lunar lander, Surveyor I, at the end of its first day of activity, June 2, 1966, casting its own long shadow on the rocky terrain of the so-called Sea of Storms (Oceanus Procellarum). This particular montage was compiled from 52 different television images beamed back to Earth. Surveyor I ended up transmitting over 10,388 pictures during that first day, and an additional 800 over the remaining 14 days before its batteries failed.

Chief Curator Brian Wallis

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Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Woman with Snake], ca. 1875 (2008.62.1)

Frank Wendt, [Barnum and Baily's Circus Snake Charmer, Miss Maxine], 1913 (2011.47.72)

Frank Wendt, [Snake Charmer], 1898 – ca. 1905 (2011.47.74)

Vu, (photo by Man Ray), July 23, 1930 (2009.52.104)

Chim (David Seymour), [Two children with a snake, San Domenico in Cocullo, Italy], 1951 (1021.2002)

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Madoka Takagi, [Untitled], 1980s (2013.97.2)

Chim website is here.
The Frank Wendt website is here.

From Eve’s serpent to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” (the video recently set a record for the most views, 19.6 million, in a day); from a very recent female anaconda’s parthenogenesis (“that is the beauty of science… We are still discovering things that surprise and amaze us”) in a UK safari park to Serptentina at the Coney Island USA sideshow; from a tiny tintype made in the 1870s to an 8 by 10 platinum (contact) print from the 1980s, there is something timeless and indissoluble about photos of alive and real, cold blooded, legless, forked-tongue, rapacious reptiles, and slithering serpents held by humans… (“Ah humanity!”)

SSSpeaking of musssic and ssslightly irrelevant:
A seeminly endless list of obscure songs (shedding and shredding) that start with snake: Snake, Snake Apartment, Snake Appeal, Snake Bite, Snake Cave, Snake Charmer, Snake City, Snake Dance, Snake Doctor Blues, Snake Domain, Snake Dream, Snake Drive, Snake Eating Its Tail, Snake Eyes, Snake Face, Snake Girl, Snake Goddess, Snake Handler, Snake Hips, Snake in the Grass, Snake in the Hole, Snake Jam, Snake Jaw, Snake Juice, Snake Leg, Snake Lust, Snake Man, Snake Mistakes, Snake Music, Snake Oil, Snake Oil Symphony, Snake People, Snake Pit, Snake Walk, Snake Woman, Snaked, Snakes, Snakes Alive… these, and many more, (alive and real) can be heard here

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Nelson Mandela by Jürgen Schadeberg

Jürgen Schadeberg, [Nelson Mandela with Ruth First at the ANC Congress, Bloemfontein, South Africa], December 1951. Collection International Center of Photography; purchased with funds provided by the ICP Acquisitions Committee, 2014


Jürgen Schadeberg, [ANC President JS Moroka, leader of the ANC Youth League Nelson Mandela, and Yusuf Dadoo President of the South African Indian Congress, meeting outside Johannesburg Courtroom during the Defiance Campaign Trial, Johannesburg], 1952. Collection International Center of Photography; purchased with funds provided by the ICP Acquisitions Committee, 2014

The 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa has been marked this year by a wide range of events throughout the nation, including the ICP exhibition Rise and Fall of Apartheid in 2013, organized by Okwui Enwezor. As that exhibition shows, for over 50 years photographers vividly represented and participated in the opposition to the repressive apartheid system that kept white and black South Africans segregated by law.

An early leader in the nonviolent protest movement was Nelson Mandela (1918–2013), who was imprisoned for 27 years and in 1994 became the first democratically elected president of South Africa. In this rare photograph from December 1951, the 33-year-old lawyer Mandela is shown meeting with journalist and activist Ruth First (1925–1982) at the first convention of the African National Congress (ANC), where the anti-apartheid Defiance Campaign was originally conceived and planned. The historic press image was taken by German-born photojournalist Jürgen Schadeberg (b. 1931) for the South African cultural magazine Drum, where, as picture editor, he covered the apartheid years and employed outlawed black photographers like Ernest Cole and Peter Magubane. For his distinguished 60-year career in photography, much of it documenting the life of Nelson Mandela and the modern cultural history of South Africa, in 2014 Schadeberg was awarded ICP’s highest honor, the Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chief Curator Brian Wallis

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John Cage was born 102 years ago today

David Seidner, John Cage, 1977 (2007.120.19)





The large loft on West 18th Street that John Cage shared with Merce Cunningham was a simple, sunny, skylight living-working studio… It was a magical day for me: the guru and his disciple. I said to him: “You know John, reading your book Silence at eighteen had a profound effect on me. And your encouragement over the years has meant more to me than you can imagine.” Without hesitation, he answered in his even high-pitched voice, “Yes, many people tell me that.” And we both laughed. John laughed a lot. He was goodness and generosity personified. He wasted nothing. Everything was grist for his extraordinary mill and he was appreciative of everything. He took nothing for granted. He talked about how fortunate he and Merce were to have the space, how much he appreciated any kind of recognition. He was gentle, serious, hard-working, brilliant. He was also endlessly quotable: “Avant-garde is a consumptional necessity as we’ve used up all the rest.” and “Anything can be art, all you have to do is change your mind.”

Photographs and words by David Seidner. Artists at Work: Inside the Studios of Today’s Most Celebrated Artists. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1999. pp. 42-49

Happy Birthday John Cage!
The website of the John Cage Trust: JohnCage.org
An Autobiographical Statement from JohnCage.org
John Cage Prepared Piano app

Another amazeballs blog post, a Fansinaflashbulb classic, about David Seidner (1957-1999) and John Cage (1912-1992) can be found here.

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Welcome Back!

Bill Wood, Billye Wood’s 5th grade class, 1950s (2010.14.186)

Chim (David Seymour), [Boy and girl, in a classroom, reading a book, Israel], 1952 (483.1986)

Chim (David Seymour), [Children sitting in a classroom, Barcelona], 1938, (2010.103.1)

Jacob Riis, Classes in Allen St. and Chrystie St. Public Schools, ca. 1888 – ca. 1898, (236.1982)



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Wishing you a fruitful labor day

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Lewis Hine, [Worker pressing rubber bodies, Paragon Rubber Company and American Character Doll, Easthampton, Massachusetts, December 1936 (778.1975)

Lewis Hine, [Worker stripping bodies off core-bars, Paragon Rubber Company and American Character Doll, Easthampton, Massachusetts, December 1936 (777.1975)

Lewis Hine, [Worker spraying face, hands and arms, Paragon Rubber Company and American Character Doll, Easthampton, Massachusetts, December 1936 (783.1975)

Lewis Hine, [Worker setting eyes in sleeping dolls, Paragon Rubber Company and American Character Doll, Easthampton, Massachusetts, December 1936 (782.1975)

Lewis Hine, [Worker dressing and packing dolls, Paragon Rubber Company and American Character Doll, Easthampton, Massachusetts, December 1936 (779.1975)

Perhaps the hot hunk with the hot hunks of rubber was making Sally Jane, Paratex Girl or Toddles dolls. You can find more information about the dolls here, or images of the Toddles dolls here.
A link to the present incarnation of the Paragon Rubber Company site is here.
A Google map of the Paragon Rubber Company site is here and here.

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Joy of YOLOing…

Weegee, [Police and bystanders with body of Stanley Sandler, a passenger in an automobile that crashed into a Third Avenue El pillar and caught fire, New York], April 16, 1942 (14129.1993)

Weegee, [Greenpoint Hospital attendant Mary Biscarei tagging body of Agnes Clark, who jumped to her death when a fire swept through her three-story wooden home, Brooklyn], May 15, 1944 (147.1982)

Weegee, [Dead body on cobblestone street], ca. 1941 (14068.1993)

Weegee, [Body of girl hit by car on Park Avenue, New York], ca. 1938 (2051.1993)

Weegee, “Murder La Humoresque,” ca. 1944 (2314.1993)

Amazeballs! In celebration of YOLO becoming an official word, here is an amazeballs post (or, mere clickbait)… A few amazeballs Weegee photos of people who have (presumably) only lived once… (Wonder why the wrangling of new words seems to be the work of the whelpish.) Let me, more hot mess than hench, mansplain this, before I (sincerely smellfungus, and no longer unbearded nor bloomy) get another side-eye from the editor…

Here are a few favorite and amazeballs Weegee photos of crimes and criminals (who are no longer alive, who have yelled their last “YOLO!”), who Weegee covered, were covered by newspapers, and covered (or almost covered) in newspapers (and a shoe)… Black and white and red all over… an old joke… and the totally adorbs (unarmed dummy wearing dark heels and revealing more than a side boob) “Murder La Humoresqe.”

Yoyo-ing between YOLO and immortality, life and death, the anonymous dead people’s and Weegee’s presence lives on in silver gelatin, bits, bytes, and now pixels… YOLO! Unless you’re in an amazeballs Weegee photo… then YOLForever…

Coming soon, (as soon as I stop cotching) an adorbs to zonkey post…

(An amazeballs related post, a Fansinaflashbulb classic, illustrating the 2009 Oxford University Press word of the year, unfriend, can be seen here.)

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