“Patience Is What You Need to Take Cat Pictures”

This is a good example of two completely different reactions to the photographer. One cat, although relaxed in body, is nervously troubled by the cameraman, camera, and lights. The other cat just hasn’t nerves – nothing matters except relaxation. Photo by Torkel Korling (1903-1998) – Black Star

“Pucko” was well named and well photographed by Thurman Rotan (1903–1991). Here Pucko’s imagination is running away with him; he has an idea he’s acting in a cat version of a screwball Bob Hope ghost movie.

Kitten looks as if it were enjoying its dreams – visions of chasing mice; not standard-size mice, but little not-too-fast ones. Photo by Ruth Bernhard (1905-2006).

Elizabeth Hibb’s cat agrees instinctively that the S-curve is the line of beauty.

This kitten is too new to the world – too far from its’ mother and terra firma. Photo by Essipeff-FPG

To this clown cat, back-rubbing pleasure is more important than dignity. Photo by Bernhard

Like puppies pretending to be full of the chew-’em-up-alive spirit, this young cat makes believe it’s back in the savage, jungle state. Photo by R.L. Doty – FPG

Ralph Steiner, “Patience Is What You Need to Take Cat Pictures,” PM Weekly, July 13, 1941, pp. 48-49 (photos by Thurman Rotan, Torkel Korling, Ruth Bernhard, and R.L. Doty, etc.)

PATIENCE Is What You Need to Take Cat Pictures

by Ralph Steiner

Cats are like children in that most people like them. Many people photograph them. They both are easy to photograph: they aren’t camera shy, and they assume an infinity of expressions and positions. There should be a wealth of good pictures of cats and children, yet there isn’t. It has taken a long time and a lot of searching to assemble the few good cat pictures you see here.

To make good photographs of cats the photographer does not have to be a great mind, a deep thinker, or a super-sensitive artist. He just has to be patient enough to wait until his subject is most expressive of some cat quality that appeals to him. Cats can be wise, foolish, elegant, awkward, playful, serious, tame, wild, social, independent, active, and passive. They can react like humans to a situation, and some of their expressions can resemble ours.

Cat photographers should use their own observation to add to this catalog of cat facets. They should then use it as a guide to more interesting and more cat-like pictures.

Hep Cats’ Ball, Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra; Louis Armstrong; Jack Palmer, 1940

Stop The War (The Cats Are Killin’ Themselves), Wingie Manone and his Orchestra; Wingie Manone; George Brunis; Joe Marsala; Mel Powell; Carmen Mastren; Al Morgan; Zutty Singleton, 1941

All the Cats Join In, Roy Eldridge And His Orchestra; Buster Harding; Eddie Sauter; Ray Gilbert; Alec Wilder, 1946

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Happy Birthday Cornell Capa (2020)

Cornell Capa (1918-2008), [John F. Kennedy supporters near Merced, California], September 9, 1960 (112.2004)

Cornell Capa, [John F. Kennedy reaching into a crowd of supporters, North Hollywood, California], September 9, 1960 (121.2004)

Cornell Capa, [John F. Kennedy speaking to voters from the back of his campaign train in California], September 8-9, 1960 (108.2004)

Cornell Capa, [John F. Kennedy, Pasadena, California], 1960

Cornell Capa, [John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, campaigning in New York], October 19, 1960 (150.1994)

Cornell Capa, [John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, campaigning in New York], October 19, 1960 (127.2004)

Cornell Capa’s photographs of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign in California and New York to commemorate the birth of Cornell Capa, who was born one hundred and two years ago today on April 10, 1918, in Budapest, Hungary.

These photographs and many more of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign were included in the exhibition:

JFK for President

Photographs by Cornell Capa, 1918-2008
Cornell Capa, who founded ICP in 1974, coined the term “concerned photographer.” His own photographs throughout his lifetime remained true to that mission.

“JFK for President” presents Cornell Capa’s photographs of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign and the early days of his administration. The exhibition includes many unpublished color and black-and-white photographs as well as classics first published in LIFE magazine and in the book Let Us Begin: The First 100 Days of the Kennedy Administration. icp.org.

Cornell Capa (originally Cornell Friedmann) was born in Budapest and moved to Paris in 1936 to join his brother, Robert, who had escaped from the increasingly anti-Semitic climate of Hungary in 1930. Although he had intended to study medicine, Cornell was drawn to photography through his brother and began making prints for him, as well as for Henri Cartier-Bresson and Chim (David Seymour). This experience encouraged him to become a professional photojournalist, and in 1937 he moved to New York to pursue a career. After he had worked in the darkrooms of the Pix agency and LIFE for a few years, his first photo story was published in Picture Post in 1939. During World War II, Capa worked for the US Army Air Corps Photo-Intelligence Unit and the Army Air Corps’s public relations department. In 1946, he became a staff photographer at LIFE, based mainly in the American Midwest, and covered some three hundred assignments over the next three years. He was the magazine’s resident photographer in England for two years, after which he returned to the United States, to produced some of his most well-known photo essays, on subjects such as Adlai Stevenson’s presidential campaign and the education of mentally retarded children. Upon Robert’s death in 1954, Capa left LIFE to continue his brother’s work at Magnum, the international cooperative photography agency co-founded in 1947 by Robert, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Chim (David Seymour), and George Rodger. Over the next twenty years, Capa photographed many important stories for Magnum, including the activities of the Perón government in Argentina; the Democratic National Conventions of 1956, 1960 and 1968; and John F. Kennedy’s first hundred days in office.

Capa’s photographic production slowed in the mid-1970s as he devoted himself more to the care and promotion of other photographers’ work through his International Fund for Concerned Photography. In 1964, he organized the exhibition The Concerned Photographer, which led to the establishment of the International Center of Photography, an organization dedicated to the support of photography as a means of communication and creative expression, and to the preservation of photographic archives as a vital component of twentieth-century history. Capa received ICP’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Capa served as ICP’s Director Emeritus until his death in 2008.
Lisa Hostetler

Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection,, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 211. [text edited, 2008] icp.org

Happy Birthday Cornell Capa!

Happy Birthday, Grady Martin And The Slew Foot Five; M.J. Hill, 1952.

Eileen Darby (1916-2004), [Robert Capa, Julia Capa, and Cornell Capa, New York], New York, 1940 (2010.96.5)

Happy Birthday To You, Raymond Scott and his New Orchestra; Clyde Burke; M.J. Hill, 1940.

Eileen Darby (1916-2004), [Robert Capa, Julia Capa, and Cornell Capa, New York], New York, 1940

Happy Birthday To You, Johnny Long And His Orchestra; Francey Lane And Ensemble, 1947.

Unidentified Photographer, [Cornell and Edith Capa, New York], ca. 1940

Happy Birthday Polka, Tex Williams and His Western Caravan; Dewey Bergman; Jack Segal; Tex Willims And Trio, 1948.

Annie Leibovitz, [Cornell and Edith Capa], ca. 1983

Happy Birthday, Craven Edwards And his Lazy K-Ranch Boys, 1946.

Alison E. Wachstein, Cornell Capa, with his wife, Edith, and their poodle, Yofi, New York, 1983

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby, The Tune Weavers; Frank Paul’s Orch.; M. Sylvia; G. Lopez, 1957.

Photographs of photographer and ICP founder Cornell Capa and family to commemorate his birth on April 10, 1918. Happy Birthday Cornell Capa!

Happy Birthday, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and his Orchestra, 1946.

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“In just 27 minutes you can be eating SNOW MAN STEW”

Life, [General Omar Nelson Bradley], April 9, 1951, p. 1 (photograph by Arnold Newman, 1918-2006)

Life’s Cover
When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley, was asked to wear his old, four-star European battle jacket for this week’s cover portrait, a problem arose. No sentimentalist, Bradley had stashed the jacket away and nobody knew where it was. It finally turned up in the attic of his Fort Meyer home. The general’s four-star helmet was borrowed from the Bradley museum in his hometown, Moberly, MoLife, April 9, 1951, p. 27

Life, April 9, 1951, pp. 18-19

Here’s the shortest short-cut to the best good-eating you’ve ever set before a hungry family!… M-m-m-m… Such an easy way to make a happy, hearty meal. Life, April 9, 1951, pp. 18-19

Life, April 9, 1951, pp. 22-24

Speaking of Pictures…

Blueprint paper, sun lamp, a nude produce some vaporous fantasies.

Blueprints have long been the tool of architects and engineers who cover them with precise plans and cross sections. Recently two young painters. Bob and Sue Rauschenberg of New York, decided to put them to a more fanciful use. Spreading strips of blueprint paper on the floor, they decked it with leaves, ferns and other oddments salvaged from a florist shop and asked a model friend to come and pose for them. As she lay nude on the paper, Bob moved slowly around her with a sunlamp, exposing the uncovered areas of the blueprint. At the end of 20 minutes he had produced the decorative image on the opposite page. Although the Rauschenbergs make blueprints for fun, they hope to turn them into screen and wallpaper designs. Life, April 9, 1951, pp. 22-24

Underwater Nymph floating in a haze of sea flowers adorns the blueprint after it has been developed. The paper is dark blue where it was exposed to the direct light of the sun lamp. Cloudy areas are sections which were only partially exposed. In the right center is Bob’s foot, which got into the composition by accident.

Exposing blueprint, Bob holds sun lamp over section of paper for two minutes. In actual sunlight, time of exposure is much shorter.

Developing, Bob washes strip under the shower, plasters it on bathroom wall and sponges it with peroxide solution to fix the image.

Surreal Dancer was made by Sue as Bob lay on paper in his jeans. She used string for head, shell for mouth, broken glass for eyes.

Still Life was concocted from fish net, strips of glass, keys, grass, leash, doily. Blueprints are cheap to make. Ten-yard roll and of paper costs around $1.75.

Focusing on tufts of grass, Bob exposes paper till it turns white under lamp light. Developing turns it blue. Ordinary light bulb has no effect on blueprint.

Photos of Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) and Susan Weil working at their West 95th St. home were made by social worker and photographer Wallace Kirkland (1892-1979).

Life, April 9, 1951, pp. 120-121

Spanish Village

It Lives in Ancient Poverty and Faith

The village of Deleitosa, a place of about 2,300 peasant people, sits on the high, dry, western Spanish tableland called Estremadura, about halfway between Madrid and the border of Portugal. Its name means “delightful,” which it no longer is, and its origins are obscure, though they may go back a thousand years to Spain’s Moorish period. In any event it is very old and LIFE Photographer Eugene Smith, wandering off the main road into the village, found that its ways had advanced little since medieval times.

Many Deleitosans have never seen a railroad because the nearest one is 25 miles away. The Madrid-Sevilla highway passes Deleitosa seven miles to the north so almost the only automobiles it sees are a dilapidated sedan and an old station wagon, for hire at prices few villagers can afford. Mail comes in by burro. The nearest telephone is 12 1/2 miles away in another town. Deleitosa’s water system still consists of the sort of aqueducts and open wells from which villagers have drawn their water for centuries. Except for the local doctor’s portable tin bathtub there is no trace of any modern sanitation, and the streets smell strongly of the villagers’ donkeys and pigs.

There are few signs of the encroachment of the 20th Century in Deleitosa. In the city hall, which is run by political subordinates of the provincial governor, one typewriter clatters. A handful of villagers, including the mayor, own their own small radio sets. About half of the 800 homes of the village are dimly lighted after dark by weak electric bulbs which dangle from ancient ceilings. And a small movie theater, which shows some American films, sits among the sprinkling of little shops near the main square. But the village scene is dominated now as always by the high, brown structure of the 16th Century church, the center of society in Catholic Deleitosa. And the lives of the villagers are dominated as always by the bare and brutal problems of subsistence. For Deleitosa, barren of history, unfavored by nature, reduced by wars, lives in poverty – a poverty shared by nearly all and relieved only by seasonal work of the soil, and the faith that sustains most Deleitosans from the hour of First Communion (opposite page) until the simple funeral (pp. 128, 129) that marks one’s end.

Photographed for Life by W. Eugene Smith.

Life, April 9, 1951, p. 121.

W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978), On the outskirts, 1950 (1508.2005)

SPANISH VILLAGE: On the Outskirts – At midmorning the sun beats down on clustered stone houses. In the distance is belfry of Deleitosa’s church.

W. Eugene Smith’s pictorial essay “Spanish Village” was published 69 years ago today in Life magazine, April 9, 1951. Included in this blog post are a few pages from Life (almost as appetizers) that caught our eye, like an advertisement for canned stew and powdered biscuits. (After a few weeks of hunkering down at home and sheltering in place “Snowman Stew” looks surprisingly, delightfully tasty.) While wandering off the mainstream road of Life we were pleasantly surprised to see an account of the sublime pair of artists Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Weil making photograms at home. Presumably the front and backs of almost all of the prints that were used to make W. Eugene Smith’s “Spanish Village” pictorial essay have never before been exhibited or published. Used in Life: “Spanish Village” (part one).

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Where in the world is the “Naked City”?

Since 2020 is a census year (have you filled out your census yet? If not you can do it here: my2020census.gov) and coincidentally this is the year that Weegee’s magnum opus Naked City was republished (by Damiani and ICP), many, many months ago, in what seems like another time and place, long before we were self-isolating and socially distancing, we sent our intrepid census taker out into the heights and depths of Weegee’s Naked City to make an unofficial survey of the population and to map Weegee’s Naked City.

Weegee (1899-1968), Simply Add Boiling Water, December 1943 (150.1982)

(Water & Dover Sts., below the Brooklyn Bridge. Naked City page 53.)

There are approximately 1,078 people in Weegee’s Naked City. That does not include the million not-naked, pre-war, sun-worshipers on a super-hot Sunday at Coney Island in July 1940… Let’s include them, since they came early, stayed late and everybody is welcome in the Naked City, then the estimated population of Weegee’s Naked City is 1,001,078 people. In 1940 the population of New York City was 7,454,995; in 2010 it was 8,175,133.

Weegee (1899-1968), [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 (965.1993)

(654 Third Avenue between East 41st and 42nd Streets. Naked City page 89.)

All of the 229 photos in Naked City were made in New York City. An estimated 18 photos were made in Brooklyn (including 14 from Coney Island), the rest, about 211, were made in Manhattan. Approximately 66 photos were made in Midtown (including Times Square), 30 were made on the Bowery, 20 in the Lower East Side, 16 in Harlem, and 5 in Chinatown.

Weegee (1899-1968), Their First Murder, October 8, 1941 (13.1997)

(250 North 6th St., Brooklyn, New York. Naked City page 87.)

What are the residents of Weegee’s Naked City doing? 44 are sleeping, 16 people are kissing, and 23 are dead. There are 5 photos of people dancing, 7 of people drinking, 90 photos of people looking (and posing), 22 photos of people walking, and 54 photos of people working. Like the photographer, a lot of Weegee’s people are looking and working.

Weegee (1899-1968), The Critic, November 22, 1943 (146.1982)

(Metropolitan Opera, 1411 Broadway. Naked City pp. 130-131.)

Weegee’s Naked City is nocturnal. When it was discernible, 156 photos were made at night and 55 were made during the day. 145 photos were made outside and 91 were made inside. More significantly, there’s more than people in the Naked City. A census of the animals in Naked City reveals the presence of three cats, four dogs, one elephant, two giraffes, two horses, one seal, and two zebras.

Weegee (1899-1968), [Time Is Short, Little Italy, New York], 1942 (3066.1993)

(375 Broome St. Naked City page 211.)

Since time is short, every minute counts, and we can not explore Weegee’s Naked City in person right now, perhaps we can explore it vicariously, through the magic of maps. Soon we’ll see the joy of living in real life, until then, we present, in page order…

A Weegee’s Naked City map:

(Clicking on the square-like thing in the upper right corner opens a larger map in a new window.)

Weegee’s Naked City is everywhere…

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Unidentified Photographer, [Gold Miners], ca. 1850 (2008.116.1)

This daguerreotype of gold miners, mining for gold 170 years ago, transformed, like an alchemical miracle, into a playable puzzle is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Two Unidentified Men], ca. 1860 (2.2001)

This ambrotype of a pair of unidentified men as a playable puzzle is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Two Unidentified Women], ca. 1842 (2007.74.1)

This daguerreotype of two unidentified women as a playable puzzle is here.

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Girl with Statuette], ca. 1850 (2009.22.1)

This daguerreotype of an an unidentified girl and statuette as a playable puzzle is here.

Eadweard J. Muybridge (1830-1904), LeCount Bros. & Mansur’s Stationery Establishment, ca. 1873 (947.2005)

This stereoview of Mansur’s Stationery Establishment as a devilishly difficult playable puzzle here.

Carleton Watkins (1829-1916), From the “Best general View,” Mariposa Trail, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa County, California, 1867 (2010.132.8)

This sublime stereoview as a playable puzzle is here.

If you create a puzzle with your own photo, reply with a link…

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Spring Autochromes Coloring Pages

Coloring page of flowers in a vase

Unidentified photographer, [Flowers and flowers], ca. 1907

A PDF of the image can be found here.

Coloring page of flowers in a vaseUnidentified photographer, [Flowers in a vase], ca. 1907

A PDF of the image can be found here.

Coloring page of flowers in a round vaseUnidentified photographer, [Flowers], ca. 1907

A PDF of the image is here.

Coloring page of flowers in a vaseUnidentified photographer, [Flowers in a vase], ca. 1907

A PDF of the image can be found here.

Coloring page of flowers in a vaseUnidentified photographer, [Flowers], ca. 1907

A PDF of the image can be found here.


Coloring page of flowers in a basketUnidentified photographer, [Flowers and grapes in a basket], ca. 1907

A PDF of the image can be found here.

Coloring page of marzipan in a floral boxUnidentified photographer, [Marzipan in a floral box], ca. 1907

A PDF of the image can be found here.

Please download, print, color, and share these pages. If you’d like to have a peek at some of the originals, you can find them here.

(Clicking on the image will open a printable JPEG, clicking on “here” will open a presentable PDF.)

Thanks to Chris George for creating the coloring pages. For more pages, see posts here, here, and here.

Happy coloring!

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“General view of the Cathedral, Milan”

Carlo Ponti (1823-1893) (attributed), General view of the Cathedral, Milan, ca. 1875 (2012.69.1) (Albumen print, Megalethoscope slide)

Carlo Ponti (1823-1893) (attributed), Vue générale de la Cathédrale, Milan, ca. 1875 (2012.69.1) (Albumen print, Megalethoscope slide, Image: 9 3/4 x 12 5/8 in., 24.8 x 32.1 cm; Frame: 11 7/8 x 15 3/4 in., 30.2 x 40 cm)

Carlo Ponti (1823-1893) (attributed), General view of the Cathedral, Milan, ca. 1875 (2012.69.1) (Albumen print, Megalethoscope slide. Slightly faster GIF.)

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Coffee with Weegee

Weegee (1899-1968), [Fireman enjoying a cup of coffee after tenement fire, New York], July 27, 1941 (15131.1993)

Yeah, I reckon I do get the breaks. But I get them because I stay around and work for them. I have no wife – no family. No home. Just a little room across from headquarters. I have no vacations. No recreations. No time out for friends or parties – unless you count a glass of beer now and then or a cup of coffee with some pretty girl I meet on the job. Most of my life is spent in waiting for things to happen. (Rosa Reilly, Popular Photography, December 1937, p. 78)

Every day to work I wore a white shirt, reasonably clean, with a hard Arrow collar and tie, and knickers. My mother gave me a couple of sandwiches and fifteen cents, ten cents for carfare and a nickel for a pint of milk. Many mornings, when there was no money, I had to take my alarm clock to the pawnshop. I hocked it for half a dollar. On pay day, I always redeemed that clock. Big Ben spent more time in the hock shop than with me. I used to envy the other employees when, at lunch time, they would go to the comer saloon and, for the price of a nickel beer, get a hot free lunch… soup, meat sandwiches, etc. Me being in knee pants, I wasn’t allowed into the saloon. A coffee break had not yet been invented. Besides helping the photographer from eight in the morning till six in the evening, I ran his errands, dried prints, swept up, and did whatever else had to be done. (“Weegee by Weegee,” p. 15)

Weegee (1899-1968), [Intermission at Metropolitan Opera, New York], ca. 1944, (7357.1993)

One of the fellows I met suggested that it wasn’t too difficult to get a part-time job in the Automat restaurants, so we went to the one at Broadway and Houston. The manager hired us as extra bus boys for the lunch-hour rush. I was given a white coat and apron and a tray, and told to pick up the dirty dishes. I worked from ten-thirty to two-thirty. Before starting work I had corn muffins and coffee. When we were through we ate everything that was left over. Then we were given a dollar bill and told to come back again the next day. (“Weegee by Weegee,” p.21)

June Duckworth, [Weegee smoking a cigar and sitting at a table with coffee cup and camera], ca. 1960 (21656.1993)

ACME was located in the huge Printing Crafts building, at Eighth Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street, that had twenty-four hour elevator service and heat all night long. The bench in the dark room became my bed. I brought in a mattress, pillow and blankets, and stored them in my locker. I rather enjoyed the camping out, especially with no rent – always the bane of my existence- to pay. I stocked up om George Washington powdered coffee, Campbell’s soups, Heinz’s baked beans (vegetarian style – no pork), and Uneeda biscuits… (“Weegee by Weegee,” p. 30)

The police reporters, who had their offices in the back of headquarters, were a friendly bunch. I made myself useful by running across the street and bringing the slips back from the teletype machine, getting them coffee. When a story broke, I’d hitch a ride with them. (“Weegee by Weegee,” p. 37)

Unidentified photographer, [Weegee drinking coffee and smoking a cigar], ca. 1960 (21716.1993)

If I wasn’t riding in police equipped short wave cars, I waited in the lobby at Police Headquarters in Center Street. My favorite easy chair was near the elevators. I smoked cigars with cops bringing me fresh containers of coffee. I knew everyone from the Police Commissioner down. Having the run of the whole police headquarters I would retire to sleepy to Missing Persons Bureau offices for a doze leaving word with the cop at the information desk not to be disturbed unless something really hot came over the Police Teletype. (“Murder is My Business,” pp.9-10)

Unidentified photographer, [“Weegee is here! Weegee drinking coffee and smoking a cigar in a cafe], 1968 (20930.1993)

It is easy enough to create distortion photographically by such means as relatively short lenses or by tilting the enlarger easel. The problem of caricature is to choose the distinctive and/or peculiar features of the subject and to exaggerate them. In photography this is no simple achievement. Perhaps only a Weegee could have brought it off. Sad-eyed, he toils away through the New York night in a locked, secret room like a troll in an old German fable. A coffeemaker maintains him through the long hours – “the time of fantasy” he calls it – while the rest of the city sleeps… To all those who have seen his pictures and who want Weegee to caricature them, this professional eccentric, gadfly, and scandalizer replies: “You are a caricature.” Then he retreats to the locked room, the coffee-pot, the cigars, and the secret formulas. (“Popular Photography,” September 1956, pp. 77-80)

Les Barry, “Popular Photography,” April 1958, p. 126

Monday – Midnight
Hello dear,
Got the 2 cans today from the cigar man – thanks for the shoes, cigars, cigarettes + coffee. Especially the Coffee-Mate, incidentally the Chock Full of Nuts Instant Coffee, which you sent the last time, is the most wonderful stuff. Just like the real coffee… (Letter from Weegee to Wilma Wilcox, September 10, 1963) (2009.70.51)

Am learning to speak French, I can order a coffee with a glass of water… (Letter from Weegee to Wilma Wilcox, ca. 1958) (2009.70.68)

Pouring down our Twitter stream this morning was the hashtag: #WorldsBiggestMuseumCoffeeMorning… We are joining the world wide coffee break and re-posting this Fansinaflashbulb classic with Weegee’s photos of one of our (and apparently Weegee’s) favorite beverages and coffee references from interviews, books, and letters…

Please join us for coffee with Weegee.

And, slightly irrelevant, our favorite coffee film from the Coffee Brewing Institute (1961):

“This is Coffee!”, 1961, from the Prelinger Archives! on archive.org!

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A Time Travelling Magical Megalethoscope View of the Palace of Versailles

Carlo Ponti (1823-1893) (attributed), Palais et place d’armes, Versailles, 1870s (2012.69.2) (Albumen print, Megalethoscope slide)

The Megalethoscope was patented in in the early 1860s by the Swiss born optician and photographer Carlo Ponti (1823-1893). Ponti spent the last forty years of his life in Venice.

A Megalethoscope-slide consists of an albumen photograph, the back of the photo is painted; well-placed holes are made in the print, and layers of painted tissue paper are mounted in a canvas-wrapped wooden frame that measures approximately 11 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 1 inches. If the top of the Megalethoscope is lifted, light is reflected off of the photo, the viewer sees a beautiful landscape or city-scape and when the top is closed and light is shown through the back of the photo, the photograph is transformed into a sensuous, darkened yet colorful scene. (It’s elaborately expanded photography and perhaps an early form of animation. A Megalethoscope-photo-slide transcends the temporal limitations of a single photograph, more than a mirror with a memory, this is a photo of the past, present, and future.)

Information and “an advertisement from the early 1860’s that illustrates the then-revolutionary capabilities of Megalethoscope technology,” from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, is here: cooperhewitt.org
A pair of blog posts (archived by the Internet Archive) from the George Eastman House blog: “Megalethoscope Slides” and “Megalethoscope Madness.”
A video, “Curators from George Eastman House demonstrate the Megalethoscope” is here.
Princeton University has a wondrous Megalethoscope, the viewing machine rests on a lion with wings.
The J. Paul Getty Museum has a beautiful, if slightly less ornate Megalethoscope.

Just a JPEG not a GIF of the entire object:

Carlo Ponti (1823-1893) (attributed), Palais et place d’armes, Versailles, 1870s (2012.69.2)

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“Gonna Find Me a Bluebird”

Unidentified photographer, [Photo album of musicians and fans], 1959, (2015.5.1)

Gonna Find Me a Bluebird, Marvin Rainwater, 1957.

Gonna Find Me a Bluebird
by Marvin Rainwater

Gonna find me a bluebird
Let him sing me a song
‘Cause my heart’s been broken
Much too long
Gonna chase me a rainbow
Through a heaven of blue
‘Cause I’m all through crying over you
There was a time my love was needed
My life completed, my dreams come true
Then came the time my life was haunted
My love unwanted, all for you

Gonna find me a bluebird
Let him sing me a song
‘Cause my heart’s been broken
Much too long
Gonna chase me a rainbow
through’ a heaven of blue
‘Cause I’m all through crying over you

Unidentified photographer, [Photo album of musicians and fans], 1959, (2015.5.1)

So You Think You’ve Got Troubles, Marvin Rainwater, 1957.

Unidentified photographer, [Photo album of musicians and fans], 1959, (2015.5.1)

Where Do We Go From Here, Marvin Rainwater, 1955.

Unidentified photographer, [Photo album of musicians and fans], 1959, (2015.5.1)

“To Lorraine, Loveya, Marvin

Dem Low Down Blues, Marvin Rainwater, 1955.

Unidentified photographer, [Photo album of musicians and fans], 1959, (2015.5.1)

Gonna guess when Marvin Rainwater was performing on the day memorialized in this photo album that he and his band performed the very popular “Gonna Find Me a Bluebird.” Gonna guess that in the first photo Marvin is signing the headshot above. Gonna guess Lorraine made most of the photos and assembled this photo album. Eagle-eyed viewers are gonna spot in the upper right corner of the photo above: Patsy Cline!

Unidentified photographer, [Photo album of musicians and fans], 1959, (2015.5.1)

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