“A wishful dream about Thanksgiving, turkey, etc.” – Happy Thanksgiving, 2017

Aaron Siskind, Harlem Peace Meals, ca. 1937 (93.1981)

Martin Munkácsi, [Turkey vendor, England], 1932 (2007.110.55)

Todd Webb, [Turkey seller, Patzcuaro, Mexico], 1969 (2013.99.54)

Lee Sievan, Turkey Dinner 40¢, 1940s (7.1990)

Weegee, [Triumphant turkey catcher after turkey truck crash on the Bowery, New York], ca. 1942-43 (16442.1993)

Weegee, Only a Dream!, 1938 (2438.1993)

“Only a Dream!”
While a 2 alarm fire was raging at Washington and Gansevoort Sts. This derelict slept through all the noise and excitement, must have had a wishful dream about Thanksgiving, turkey, etc…

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Inflation, or “…it’s just the hand of a 45 foot clown”

Weegee, [Cop and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon hand, New York], 1945 (14753.1993)

Weegee, [Female cab driver with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon, New York], 1945 (14751.1993)

cruising down COLUMBUS AVE in the rain…
its just the hand of a 45 FT. CLOWN
being filled with HELLIUM GAS for the
annual MACYS DEPARTMENT STORE thanksgiving day parade…

Weegee (1899-1968), [Female cab driver with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon, New York], 1945 (284)

This photograph was made at “Amsterdam Avenue, Looking South from West 107th Street.” Weegee Guide to New York, pp. 346-347

Weegee, [Bobo the Hobo filled with helium gas for annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York], 1945 (3077.1993)

Weegee, [Inflating Santa Claus for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York], ca. 1940 (3076.1993)

This photograph was made at “Manhattan Ave. and West 106th St.“, Weegee Guide to New York, pp. 346-347

PM, November 18, 1940, p. 17

Tony Sarg Polishes Off Some Parade Monsters
On Thursday, Macy’s 16th annual Thanksgiving parade will start the Christmas shopping season off with a bang. In his Fort Lee, N.J. studios, Tony Sarg adds finishing touches to his inflated paraders. A seven story Uncle Sam will be there – and so will Superman, Suitable mammoth. Photo by John DeBiase, PM Staff.

The biggest balloons are made in a hangar at Akron, Ohio. This is the start of Santa Claus’s head, which, with his giant friends, is deflated and shipped here to be filled with helium for the big parade. The parade will start down Central Park West from 106th Street at 11:30 a.m., then follow Broadway to Macy’s at 34th Street.

The parade will have 26 divisions, one for each letter of the alphabet. Above, Sarg’s sketches for balloons E, H and Z divisions. PM, November 18, 1940, p. 17

Tony Sarg (1880-1942), a puppeteer, artist, author, illustrator, designer, prankster, and restaurateur, created animated holiday window designs for Macy’s and created the first balloons used in the early Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades. The parade was suspended for a few years, 1942-44, during World War Two. In 1945 “Macy’s Mammoth, Merry Thanksgiving Parade” featured five new balloons, seventeen floats, seven bands, acrobats, tumblers, clowns, dancers, animals, and sideshows. The Bobo the Hobo clown balloon was introduced in 1945 and was apparently 44 feet high and 38 feet wide, inflated with 6,000 cubic feet of helium, and his clothes were colorful. In subsequent parades Bobo the Hobo transmogrified into a baseball player, policeman, and Harold the Fireman. By 1945, and after the publication of Naked City, Weegee had more-than-enough experience photographing prostrate and supine bodies, smaller and no-less-alive, or merely sleeping.

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Happy Birthday Fansinaflashbulb!

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Woman with Camera], ca. 1935 (437.2005)

Nine years ago today Fansinaflashbub was born. It premiered with the post:

Let the blog begin
Posted on November 19, 2008 by fansinaflashbulb

Starting on November 20, the International Center of Photography will add images and interpretive text highlighting works within its collections. These will include photographic images, noted books, and other fascinating artifacts. Let the blog begin..

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Woman], ca. 1890 (2008.39.1)

To commemorate this monumental achievement in longevity this post presents photos and objects that can not be seen anywhere else. Photos and objects that are unique, breathtaking, spellbinding, and are at least 80 years old.

Nine yearsit seems like only yesterday. Time flies when you’re blogging. Nine years is about: nine-tenths as long as King Tut’s reign; about three-fourths as long as FDR‘s Presidential Term; about one-and-a-half times as long as World War II; about two times as long as World War I; about two-and-a-half times as long as the American Civil War; about one-thirtieth as long as a giant tortoise’s lifespan; and about 150,000,000 times as long as the first movie.

Unidentified Photographer, [Frey Family Marble Book], ca. 1900

Throughout the nine years of Fansinaflashbulb’s existence there have been 1,094 posts, 1,856,918 views, and there are now slightly north of 3,000 followers. There have been 497,069 views from the United States, 84,449 views from France, 17,216 from the Netherlands, 5,484 from Hungary, 2,539 from Thailand, 2,932 from Taiwan, 1,381 from Peru, 1,001 from Georgia, 563 from Iceland, 267 from Armenia, 204 from Angola, 198 from Sudan, 175 from Sri Lanka, 145 from Kazakhstan, 87 from Cambodia, 69 from Laos, 22 from Libya and Iran, 21 from Madagascar and Turkmenistan, eight from Bhutan, five from Liberia and Vatican City, four from Mali and Tajikistan, two from Rwanda and Antarctica, one from Togo and Samoa.

Unidentified Photographer, [Four Unidentified Men in Frames] ca. 1875 (2008.81.8)

We are speaking seriously about civil rights. And politics. Concerned photography is a concern. We positively present books, magazines, newspapers, and posters. (Even a few GIFs.) Frequently thinking about food and freedom and music. There’s something for everybody. Perhaps cats are your cup of tea or coffee. Conceivably you (heart) dogs or birds. Possibly portraits float your boat. Perchance you are crazy for tintypes. Or Polaroids? Currently based in New Jersey and thinking about New York City. From the funny to the sad, from the silly to the sublime. From life to death. Nothing’s too small, or too large. With occasional attempts at humor. You can find almost everything on fansinaflashbulbYou can never have too much Weegee

Unidentified Photographer, [Weegee with camera and woman], ca. 1937 (20153.1993)

Most importantly, thank you for reading!

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Rembrandt, [Unidentified women in a question mark], ca. 1915 (2006.62.1)

Let the blog continue!

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Weegee’s Cats

Weegee, “…and the cat!”, November 25, 1943 (13996.1993)

PM, November 25, 1943, p. 12

How to Wreck a Tavern – Cold Sober!
Federal men took care of Walsh’s Bar and Grill, 213 Tenth Ave. after place was accused of taking bad care of its customers by selling bootleg liquor. First they stacked the wet goods on the bar…
…then they started to dismantle the place. here they take the beer cooling system apart. According to Government boys, a number of local taverns were refilling standard bottles with the newly made stuff.
Then they took the palms…
…and the cash register…
and the bar…
…and the cigaret machine…
…and the juke box…
…and the cat!
Photos by Weegee, PM, November 25, 1943, p. 12

Weegee, “At midnight both the elite and bums have left Sammy’s on the Bowery; only a milk-drinker remains while Sammy counts the receipts”, April 1, 1945 (14304.1993)

PM, April 1, 1945

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Belles Fontaines

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Fontaine Colbert, Rue Colbert 6, 1907-08 (Printed 1907-27) (2008.111.33)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Ancienne Fountaire Saint-Benoit, 1624, aujord’hui College de France, 1898-1927 (2011.52.12)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Le Chateau de Versailles, 1898-1927 (2011.52.26)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Juvisy, Fontaine, Pont des Belles Fontaines, 1921 (Printed 1921-27) (2008.111.33)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Juvisy, Fontaine, Pont des Belles Fontaines, 1921 (printed 1921-27) (2009.79.50)

Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Détail de la fontaine Cuvier, angle de la rue Cuvier et de la rue Linné, 1905 (printed 1905-27) (2009.79.29)

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Anselm Kiefer, Auszug, 1987 (2014.45.1) (front cover)

Every page of this twenty eight page book is about 16 3/4 inches tall and 16 3/8 inches wide, almost square. The fourteen photos, or page spreads if the book were open, are almost 17 inches tall and 33 inches wide. All of the photos are cut in half. The photo on the front and back covers is from the same negative, although printed differently, as the photo on the first and second pages in the book.
The images:
interior (two pages): an artist’s studio floor, (a place of work and creation, perhaps destruction), rolled metal, a small table.
exterior (four pages): water, waves, sky, sand, water, waves, sky, water, waves, waves.
interior (eighteen pages): rolled metal on studio floor, wires, electric power strip.
exterior (two pages): topographic view of land or lava.
exterior (two pages): sky with clouds seen through an airplane window, and a single silver-colored cloud.

Anselm Kiefer, Auszug, 1987 (2014.45.1) (last page spread; the end)

The tome has the pleasant and subtle smell of marzipan. The chemical stains and tones enchantingly obscure, define, and interact with the subject matter. There is an alchemical streak or stream that slices the pages and culminates in cumulus clouds. (Perhaps this book was not meant to be read.) Auszug is about as heavy as a dachshund, about two times as heavy as a cat, about one-fifth as heavy as an octopus, about six-and-a-half times as heavy as a human brain, about one-fifteenth as heavy as a panda bear, about thirty times as heavy as a human heart, about 50 times as heavy as a hamster, about one-seventy-fifth as heavy as a cow, about one-two-hundred-fiftieth as heavy as a rhinoceros, about 250 times as heavy as a light bulb.

Anselm Kiefer, Auszug, 1987 (2014.45.1)

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Veterans Day, 2017

Larry Burrows (1926-1971), Mutter Ridge, Nui Cay Tri, South Vietnam, October 1966 (27.1998)

Larry Burrows (1926-1971), First-aid station. Mutter Ridge, Nui Cay Tri, October 1966 (1758.2005) (Life, October 28, 1966, p.38 )

Larry Burrows (1926-1971), “Having failed in their first attempt to take Hill 484, troops from the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines drop back to a safe distance to allow air and artillery strikes to help dislodge the NVA defenders,” October 1966 (1757.2005)

Haggard Patrol. The men filing warily through the thicket and gunner shouldering his rocket launcher across a stream are U.S Marines involved in one of the meanest, most important battles of the war. The ground they are contesting is just south of the supposedly demilitarized zone – the “DMZ – which divides North and South Vietnam. North Vietnamese troops had infiltrated the DMZ in preparation for an offensive which the Marines and other troops were primed to stop. Life, October 28, 1966, p. 30

Larry Burrows (1926-1971), “Four marines recover the body of a comrade under fire. On the right: French photographer Catherine Leroy, who had flown in on a supply helicopter”, October 1966 (1762.2005)

Under Fire. Four Marines recover the body of a fifth as their company comes under fire near Hill 484. “We were in the open approaching a 40 foot rise,” cabled photographer Larry Burrows, “Our point man ran to the top of the hill and was shot dead.” During the fire fight, Burrows took this picture and those on the next two pages of Marine wounded being treated at the front and helped to air evacuation points. According to a ranking officer, Marines counted more than 2,000 enemy dead in the furious ground action near the DMZ. Life, October 22, 1966, p. 36

Larry Burrows (1926-1971), Ammunition airlift during the relief of Khe Sanh, April 1968 (1765.2005)

To commemorate Veterans Day we present several photos made by Larry Burrows during the Vietnam War. Born Henry Frank Leslie Burrows in London in 1926; died in Laos in 1971. A few excerpts from an informal conversation between between Burrows and Edgar H. Needham, conducted while they were drinking coffee in Burrows’s office, in Hong Kong on Chinese New Year’s Eve, January 1971, and published in Popular Photography in 1971:

“It’s a thing I’ve said many times: does one have the right to capitalize on the grief of others? The only reason I can give myself is that if one can show to others what these people are going through, in this scene in Vietnam or wherever else in the world, then there’s a reason for doing it.”
Burrows’ incredible ability to remain cool when things became, as he would say, “a bit difficult,” was well known. I asked him if he ever got frightened. He gave me a penetrating look, capping it with that twinkle of his and replied, “Everybody gets frightened; I mean anybody who says they’re not frightened is an absolute, bloody fool.
“In my case,” he went on, “surely there are moments when my lips go dry and I feel a little bit uncomfortable. In the first place, you’ve got to be a fatalist; and secondly, you’re trying to get on one small frame all this turmoil around you… you realize that you could take a hundred photographs and nothing would possibly convey the amount of tension at that particular moment. And when you realize the limitations of the still camera, your mind is tied up.
“For over 20 years, I’ve been involved in various forms of conflicts and realizing each time that trying to find that one telling photograph becomes just that much more difficult. In Vietnam, for example, at no other time in the history of war or conflict does one come in so close to human suffering, and so it’s no longer a tank smoking; you need more than that.”
Larry was concerned about being labeled a “war photographer.” “That’s actually a lot of twaddle,” he almost exploded. “In the old days I photographed, for example, a hell of a lot of paintings. You look in the cabinet over there, and there’s an 8×10 camera, there’s a 4×5. I’ve got a mass of floodlights and strobe light and so on.”
“Well,” he replied, “I’m an adventurer by nature; this is why I love this part of the world with the different nationalities and the different religions. It’s a fascinating area to work in. To me, it’s a hobby as well as a job. You know I’m one of the five percent lucky ones in life who does have a job that is a hobby.”
I asked him if he thought most men lead lives of quiet desperation. No doubt about his meaning, a slight pause and a firm Yes.
Popular Photography, “A Photographers Own Story,” By Edgar H. Needham, July 1971, pp.98-99, 121-122.

Unidentified Photographer, [LIFE photographer Larry Burrows attaching cameras to helicopter Yankee Papa 13], March 31, 1965 (1956.2005)

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