Centenary of World War One

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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I love animals!

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

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Lisette Model, Promenade des Anglais, 1937 (79.1993)

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

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Weegee, Village Type, ca. 1956 (17104.1993)

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

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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.
HOW DID HE DO IT?

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

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Shashin Shuho, March 5, 1941 (2014.38.1)

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Shashin Shuho, July 9, 1942 (2014.38.15)
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Shashin Shuho, June 18, 1941, p. 2 (2014.38.2)
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Shashin Shuho, January 21, 1942, p. 4 (2014.38.15)
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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

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Shashin Shuho, January 21, 1942 (2014.38.15)

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Enough is enough?

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Walker Evans, Penny Pictures Display, Savannah, 1936 (50.1981.g)


Leon Levinstein, Wall of photographs, ca. 1957 (2011.53.17)

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Leon Levinstein, [Untitled], ca. 1980, (139.1999)

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Weegee, Weegee in his Hollywood Studio, ca. 1950 (20282.1993)


Bob Parent, [Weegee and Mel Harris with Weegee's photographs for his Naked Hollywood book], ca. 1953 (2213.1993)

Are there too many photographs?

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Looking back to Mid-Century Downtown New York

After re-reading Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil’s book Please Kill Me: The Oral History of Punk, I’ve been curious to learn more about the New York City that Richard Hell and Patti Smith were inspired by. I’ve been told horror stories about living Downtown in the 1970s and 1980s, but I suppose one’s hero’s can make a dump on The Bowery seem romantic.


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Mellon Tytell
William S Burroughs and Gregory Corso standing in front of the West End Bar, 1973, 124.1994

Of course, we have to start with one of the fathers of punk-rock, William S. Burroughs and one of the youngest of the beat poets, Gregory Corso. Although the West End Bar was over one hundred blocks from the downtown scene it was a popular meeting place for students at Columbia University. Patrons included Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in the 1940’s and continued to be a meeting place for students and intellectuals until it closed in 2006.

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Ken Heyman, Greenwich Village, 1980, 2009.93.23


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Leon Levinstein
, St. Marks Place, 1968, 2011.53.5

Robert Frank  is said to have walked into CBGB‘s one night and made the observation “It looks like the way people dress is very important.” This is true, the “look” was  intentional and the author of the next book on my list, Richard Hell would intentionally cut his clothes to achieve his desired look. Malcolm McLaren even stated: “Richard Hell was a definite, 100 percent inspiration, and, in fact, I remember telling the Sex Pistols, “Write a song like Blank Generation, but write your own bloody version.” Their own version was Pretty Vacant.


McNeil, Legs, and Gillian McCain. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. New York: Grove, 1996. Print.

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The Stories of Standard Oil

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Gordon Parks
, [Portrait of the Owner of the General Store], 1943-50 (149.1983)

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 Sol Libsohn, U.S. 22, Pennsylvania, 1945 (153.1983)

After a rather abrupt ending of funding for the photographic project of the Farm Security Administration, Roy Stryker accepted another challenge: he would lead a documenting project that would improve the public image of the New Jersey based company Standard Oil. Stryker worked with a group of dedicated, now legendary, photographers who documented the operations in the field of Standard Oil Company and visualized a wide variety of topics that related to the oil industry. Photographers such as Gordon Parks, Sol Libsohn, Todd Webb, Esther Bubley and among others, documented countless subjects, voices and angles to tell the stories of all the people and places involved in or affected by the oil industry in the United States.

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Esther Bubley, Oilfield Family in Their Tent, Andrews, 1945 (136.1983)

Although Stryker insisted his photographers to be well-informed before they started their work, they were free to pursue their own individual approaches and tell their stories according to each photographer’s unique visual style: with intimate and lively images of families and communities Esther Bubley would illustrate daily life in small towns in the American South; Sol Libsohn documented truck driver’s arduous work in stark, black and white images, where other photographs he took throughout the country show his keen eye for strong, abstracted compositions and the sensitivity to document human interaction; Gordon Parks’ images of farmhouses, miners and the use of portraiture reveal his talent to grasp the different environments affecting each of the individual lives; typical for the photographic style of Todd Webb, the scenes in his photographs are composed in such a way they are being elevated from the general story and become individual icons of a place and era in the United States of the 1940s.

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Todd Webb
, Houses from the Bloomfield Bridge, Pittsburgh, 1943-50 (191.1983)

The Standard Oil Company photography project started in 1943. By the time it ended, in 1950, roughly 67,000 photographs had been taken. The International Center of Photography holds approximately 190 photographs in its Collection.

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 Sol Libsohn, Laying Pipeline Across the Mississippi River, 1944 (239.1983)

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