August 31, 1941

In broad daylight, in the Bronx, in at least two photos, Weegee artfully captured a crushed and precariously balanced car and a covered corpse. PM published on the Sunday of a Labor Day weekend, one of the photos and called attention to deadly driving during the holiday weekend.

Weegee, [Holiday accident in the Bronx], August 31, 1941 (14140.1993)

Holiday accidents took their toll as motorists started on their Labor Day week end. Early yesterday Joseph Morris and his brother’s wife, Charlotte, were killed when this car overturned in Bronx Park. The driver, Anthony Morris, Navy purchasing agent, was injured. Three other auto deaths had been listed last night, the Motor Vehicle Bureau says about 40 will die before Tuesday in New York State. PM, August 31, 1941, p. 18

PM, August 31, 1941, p. 18

Elsewhere in the news: World War Two was turning two.

War’s Second Anniversary: Axis Enemies Consolidating
First Year Went All Hitler’s Way But Not the Second
The Second World War is two years old tomorrow.
Twelve months ago, for Hitler’s foes, the situation was one of dark discouragement. France had been crushed. Britain’s position was precarious. The first year was Hitler’s.
The last twelve months cannot be said to have been the Allies’. But they weren’t Hitler’s either. The Nazi attack on Russia had proved far more costly than Hitler anticipated. In the Soviet Union, the Nazis have already met their Marne. Circumstances are forging a world-wide alliance to match the world-wide Axis at last. The initiative is beginning to pass the anti-Axis bloc.
By The General. PM, August, 31, 1941, p.5

Two years after the Second World War began and about three months before the United Stated entered the war, the last-Sunday-in-August edition of PM was full of news about the war and a wide array of advertisement-free, labor and immigration friendly, information and stories. Some of the noteworthy elements in the end-of-August edition were: a few pages on Hitler’s atrocities, a Dr. Suess cartoon, three pages of photos celebrating the Cossacks, a five page photo-portrait of Hartford, Connecticut, a photo by Martin Harris of Vivian Cherry dancing with Ferdinand the bull at the camp of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, a lengthy and favorable review of a WPA art exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum with photos by Gene Badger, advice on where and how to shop for lamps on the Bowery, and Ralph Steiner’s “Photography” section featured three pages of animal photos made by Ylla, the Hungarian, single named, nom-de-photography of Camilla Koffler (1911-1955).

PM continued its advocacy of increasing the pay of soldiers, featuring a page of photos by the great Gene Badger. 20,000 underpaid soldiers were excepted to come to New York City for the Labor Day weekend. Scores of soldiers were staying at the Soldiers and Sailors Club at 39th and Lexington Avenue.

PM, August 31, 1941, p. 14

This Photographer’s Studio Is Open Only to Animals
By Ralph Steiner
Ylla – lens name for Camilla Koffler – is a good animal photographer. Her mother, who believes in reincarnation, says it’s because Ylla has invariably been an animal lover – never a human before this trip to earth. That’s an idea to have fun with. For instance: what were Goering and Gobbels? Porker and weasel? As for Ylla, however, we’re on safer ground if we attribute her success to a lifetime knowledge and love of animals. Ylla studied sculpture in Paris. To support herself while studying, she made photographs. Once, while working for a French movie company, she was ordered to make a series of portraits of Marlene Dietrich. They were so unflattering and unglamorous that Marlene was furious, and Ylla was black-listed by every movie company in France. That experience, plus the fact that she liked to make people look grotesque and funny, turned her to animal photography. When she discovered that she hadn’t the sculptor’s touch, she opened a portrait studio in Paris-but just for animals.
She photographed pet horses, cats, dogs, fish and anything in the animal line that her clients brought in. She has had to slow down some animals and pep up others. She once starved a carp to stop its whizzing by. One old lady ordered more than $1000 worth of pictures of her cheetah. The cheetah was so fat and lazy that the pictures were dull. Ylla sent the owner away, and brought in stray dogs. The cheetah, hating dogs, became wild -and photographable.
The pictures on these pages are from Ylla’s latest hook, Big and Little.

These white oxen look beautiful, wise and calm like old Chines philosophers. This picture makes it easy to see why oxen are held sacred in India.

A smart Japanese once said that a Pekingese was half dog and half insect. Baby looks like a stuffed toy – cute but likely to scare sensitive children. Mama looks disgusted – the imported bob-bons have just run out, and a dumb servant has offered her candy made in Hoboken.

Snapping Old and Young Together Was a 4-Year Job
Ylla spent four years traveling to the zoological parks of France and England to complete her collection of pictures of old and young animals together. Besides Big and Little, Ylla has published a book on dogs, one on cats, and one made with Julian Huxley in England, on animal noises. War ruined her animal-portrait business in Paris, so Ylla came to New York last March. She is planning to establish a similar animal-portrait studio. Strangely enough, the only accident that has happened all Yalla’s dealings with animals came when three dachshunds, unattended for a moment, spoiled a studio.

Some animals have children that look older than the parents. This baby orangutan looks like an ancient Tammany politician who has smoked too many cheap cigars and downed too many rye whiskies.

Tapirs look like dull animals -the kind that stay a month when you invite them for only a week end.

Young elephants also look old. This pair, though they look like mother and child, are not related.

Despite this zebra’s savagery when anyone came near her child, she looks more decorative than exciting.

Though “baboon” is used derisively, these two look like fine people. Mama is a statue to motherhood

It’s wonderful how a few years will make this dopey dachshund puppy as intelligent as its mother.

PM, August 31, 1941, pp. 47-49

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“Bright, smart or brilliant, things like that.”

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), Little Italy, Manhattan (Feast of San Gennaro), 1952 (367.1984) [Joseph Ronga, 106 Mulberry St.]

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), 42nd Street (Looking West) and Vanderbilt Avenue, 1953 (369.1984)

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), 30th Street and Lexington Avenue, NYC (Sunday a.m.), 1965 (378.1984)

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), City Cat (New York City), 1951

The above audio is the first eight minutes of an enlightening talk by Alfred Gescheidt at ICP on October 20, 1982. Before the slides are projected, Gescheidt reads from note cards that articulate his thoughts on his photographic practice, the photography field, his colleagues, his fondness for their work, and Life: “I made a few notes and then we’ll look at a lot of pictures.” A few highlights include: “The funniest photographer I’ve ever known was Weegee. I’m talking about the man’s personality.” (Check for Two Murders is an example of Weegee’s wit.) John Morris tells Gescheidt: “Like all photographers, you don’t know how to edit.” Gescheidt acknowledges that the gods (like Arnold Newman and Philippe Halsman) of the field of photography are very human. Roman Vishniac demonstrates that you’re never too old to learn. And, directed at Cornell Capa and Gescheidt himself, both photographers with Hungarian heritage, there was a sign in a Hollywood studio in the 1920s that read: “It is not enough that you are Hungarian, you also must be talented.” Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and W. Eugene Smith were influential photographers to the young Gescheidt, and he was a cousin to the PM photographer Alan Fisher. Although known as a humorous photographer, a maker of incongruous, multi-negative montages, it was not-manipulated, street, mostly 35mm photography that remained a life-long pursuit and passion; the objective was to photograph things that he couldn’t believe were happening.

The “Speaking of Pictures” stories in LIFE that Gescheidt speaks of can be seen here:
LIFE, “Speaking of Pictures,” June 26, 1950, pp. 20-21
LIFE, “Speaking of Pictures,” July 28, 1958, pp. 8-9
Gescheidt speaks about this Mona Lisa photo and the “Moody Musing on the Subway” mass transit photos:

Alfred Gescheidt (1926-2012), [Untitled], 1975 (388.1984)

Alfred Gescheidt at ICP on December 15, 1982.

LIFE, November 26, 1951, pp. 8-9

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“Water is Life”

Jay Maisel, Bird in Iran, 1984 (251.1991)

Lou Bernstein (1911-2005), N.Y. Aquarium, 1985 (89.1992)

Lou Bernstein (1911-2005), N.Y. Aquarium, 1972 (99.1992)

Lou Bernstein (1911-2005), N.Y. Aquarium, 1975 (100.1992)

Lou Bernstein (1911-2005), Newfy, N.Y. Aquarium, 1977 (97.1992)

Douglas Faulkner, Golden-Crested Damselfish, Belau Islands, (312.1981)

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“Water is Life”

Morley Baer (1916–1995), North Cove, Soberanes Point, Sur Coast, California, 1965 (291.1991)

Paul Caponigro, Sandstone and Surf, Cape Kiwanda, Oregon, 1959 (66.2001.10)

Hiroshi Hamaya (1915-1999), Tojinbo, Japan, 1960 (icp.3981)

Hidekazu Iwase, Precious Jewel, 1989 (41.1994)

Soichi Kiyooka (1915-1991), Tatsukushi, Kochi, Japan, November 1973 (8.1994)

Brett Weston (1911-1993), Tomales Bay, California, 1955 (2012.119.71)

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Silver Shadows of the Moon

To commemorate of the upcoming (August 21, 2017) total solar eclipse, when “the moon will completely cover the sun,” and the moon’s shadow will be visible to most of the United States, below are five studio portraits that include representations of the moon:

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Man], (456.2005 )

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Man], ca. 1920-1940 (558.1990)

P. B. Barnes, [Three Unidentified Women], 1910-30 (984.1990)

Unidentified Photographer, Sitting Hawk and Family, (2006.20.326)

W. J. Moulton, Son, Moon & Stars, ca. 1864 (140.2003 )

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Looking Up

Weegee (1899-1968), [Woman looking at Mars through telescope, Times Square, New York], ca. 1943 (3074.1993)

Carl Mydans (1906-2004), Kremlin, 1959 (267.2005)

NASA, [Panorama of the Moon’s Surface with Shadow of Surveyor 1], June 2, 1966 (2014.26.1)

NASA, Earthrise, December 24, 1968 (2016.23.1)

Inspired by the upcoming (August 21, 2017) total solar eclipse, this post presents photos that are not directly about the moon completely covering the sun, yet involve unlikely, unexpected, previously unseen, amusing, beautiful, and profound views of looking into space from the heart of a darkened Manhattan, perhaps during a World War Two blackout. The moon and stars above the Moscow skies during the height of the Cold War. A fifty inch long panorama of “the first U.S. spacecraft to land safely on the Moon.” The Surveyor 1 made over 11,000 photos and gathered essential data for the future lunar landings. And a view of the earth from the Apollo 8 mission:

“Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts-Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders-held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Said Lovell, “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.”  Source: NASA

John Pfahl, Moonrise over Pie Pan, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, 1977 (433.1984)

Pete Turner, Stonehenge, 1979 (122.1987)

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Cornell Capa, [John F. Kennedy campaigning in Spokane, Washington], September 6, 1960 (106.2004)

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.” John F. Kennedy


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