“This is a New York sidewalk audience…”

This is a New York sidewalk audience. Study their faces. Then scroll down the screen to see what they are looking at.

Weegee, [Bystanders looking at the body of Salvatore Sutera, New York], February 6, 1941 (14046.1993)

PM, February 7, 1941, p. 13

This is a New York sidewalk audience. Study their faces. Then turn the page to see what they are looking at.

PM, February 7, 1941, p. 14

This Is What They Saw.

The body of Salvatore Sutera, 27, lies in front of 202 Mott St., where it was found at 4:45 p.m. Thursday. He had been shot in the mouth, and was dead when police arrived. Bloody footprints in the hallway indicated he had been shot there and staggered to the sidewalk. He was a salesman, had no police record and had not been robbed. Detectives thought last night it was a case of mistaken identity. Weegee, our photographer, took this picture and then turned his camera on the watching crowd and got the picture printed on the preceding page.

PM, Friday, February 7, 1941, pp. 13-14

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Happy Year Lunar New Year!

Margaret Bourke-White, [Pigs at Swift Meat Packing Packington Plant, Chicago], 1930 (1735.2005)

Jacob Riis, Pig, Rutgers Street dump, New York, March 18, 1892 (261.1982)

Weegee, [After the opera, Sammy’s on the Bowery, New York], ca. 1944 (wn.662)

Inge Morath, Puck Fair, Killorglin, County Kerry, Ireland, 1954 (1.1978.f)

Dan Weiner, Matera, Italy, 1954 (955.1974)

Aleksandras Macijauskas, In the market – 27, Kaišiadorys, Lithuania, 1970 (1138.1986.m)

Happy Year of the Pig!

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Atget’s Magnificent Door Knockers (2)

Eugène Atget, Hôtel de Chateaubriand (Hôtel de Clermont-Tonnerre,) 120 Rue du Bac, 1901-02 (2008.111.21)

Google Street View, 120 Rue du Bac, July 2016

Fortunately this magnificent door knocker, partially painted red, appears to still exist in the wild.

Eugène Atget, Heurtoir, 43 Rue Saint-Anne, 1904 (2010.114.23)

Google Street View, 43 Rue Sainte-Anne

Sadly the magnificent door knocker in Eugène Atget’s (1857-1927) beautiful albumen photograph, made 115 years ago, appears to no longer exist in nature. (Although the replacement is not too shabby.)

An exquisite selection of Eugène Atget’s magnificent door knockers presented in chronological order and a Google map.

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“A view into the future” – Jean Painlevé’s Studio with Underwater Stars, Regards, 1935

Regards, April 25, 1935, back cover

le studio aux vedettes sous-marines. Visite chez Jean Painlevé.
Jean Painlevé ou subversion dans la science… by Léo Sauvage.

Léo Sauvage visited Jean Painlevé’s Institute of Scientific Cinema, 12 rue Armand-Moisant, Paris, in 1935. The Institute does not look like a traditional academic building, in fact it’s near a movie theatre, outside are empty bottles, and garbage cans. The Institute is in the basement. Down the stairs and in the basement is laundry belonging to the owner of the building and Painlevé’s menagerie, machine shop, and studio:

…The filming room offers a spectacle as colorful as it is diverse. There is something bohemian about Jean Painlevé’s Institute, something fresh, youthful, spirited, bustling, and unconventional that challenges the mummified science of the Academy in the most insolent way. The walls are white, covered with buttons, switches, levers, meters. How do they know what’s what? And of these countless, inextricable wires that go in every direction, come back, entangle and separate, which goes to a projector, which to a camera, which to a socket? The shelves against the opposite wall typify the clutter and lack of space. They house the most diverse objects: cameras, lenses, microscopes, files, specimens, including the container that holds what Painlevé will present to us as his most prized possession: “the most beautiful infusorian flagellums in the world,” as well as the handbag of the person Painlevé will introduce as his principal scientific collaborator — Geneviève Hamon.

Miss Hamon, in the corner, is in her domain. She presides over the microscope table. This table, cluttered with lamps and electrical apparatus of all sorts, sits beside a barrel that has been covered with a plank and faces a large sink, a few empty aquariums, a broom, and a garbage pail. I turn my attention away from the garbage pail and look into a microscope, where Miss Hamon has prepared something for us. Lights illuminate a backdrop of color, and at that very moment the specimen on the glass slide comes to life before my very eyes. I think of the Musée Grévin, where those willing to pay the price of a ticket are entertained by the play of light, mirrors, and a phonograph record. I peer once again into the microscope, realizing why Jean Painlevé takes such pleasure in his work.

Regards, April 25, 1935, pp. 8-9

I am stopped in my tracks, stunned, before a new apparatus for filming in slow motion that has recently emerged from Master Raymond’s atelier. Painlevé explains how everything is made out of old things, refurbished and transformed. Thus one of the elements in the camera is a mechanism from a clock, bought somewhere at a discount. But it has been modified, a system of spare cogs adapted to it, allowing the recording speed to be changed at will. The camera is completely automatic.

Painlevé plugs it in, chooses the cog that he will place in the clock mechanism. Every twenty-five seconds, the light turns on, the shutter activates, and the film advances…

“These animals are mobile, capricious, and completely unconcerned with the way you wish to film them. So you must simply yield to them, bow to their whims. And then, be patient. I waited three days and three nights, taking turns with Raymond, for the seahorse to give birth. He was in no hurry. By the time he was finally ready, we had gotten skinny!”

We climbed back up the cellar stairs. We passed the garbage cans, the suspicious concierge, and the movie theater’s sexy posters. We were on the rue Armand-Moisant, in front of no. 12. Neither dusty Institute nor hyped American box. Better than all that: a view into the future.

Translation by Jeanine Herman. Andy Masaki Bellows, Marina McDougall, Brigitte Berg editors. Translation By Jeanine Herman. Science is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painlevé. San Francsico: Brico Press and Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000 pp. 124-128

Regards, Sauvage, Léo. “Jean Painlevé or the subversion in science: the studio of Underwater Stars.” April 25, 1935
Regards, April 25, 1935, back cover

By 1935 Jean Painlevé had completed more than 10 films including:

The Octopus (La Pieuvre), 1927, 35mm.
The Daphnia (La Daphnie), 1928, 35mm.
The Sea Urchin (L’Oursin), 1928, 35mm.
The Hermit Crab (Le Bernard-L’Ermite), 1929, 35mm.
Hyas and Stenorhynchus (Hyas et sténorinques), 1928, 35mm.
Crabs and Shrimps (Crabes et Crevettes), 1929, 35mm.
Calder’s Mobiles (Les Mobiles de Calder), 1930, 35mm.
Caprella and Pantopoda (Caprelles et pantopodes), 1930, 35mm,
The Seahorse (L’Hippocampe), 1933, 35mm.

Sources: Jean Painlevé Archives, Les Documents Cinématographiques, and Andy Masaki Bellows, Marina McDougall, Brigitte Berg editors. Translation By Jeanine Herman. Science is Fiction: The Films of Jean Painlevé. San Francsico: Brico Press and Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000.

Regards, April 25, 1935, pp. 8-9, and back cover (front cover features a photomontage by John Heartfield)

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Jackie Robinson!

Brownie McGhee, Robbie – Doby Boogie, May 1948 (archive.org)

Nina Leen, [Brooklyn Dodger baseball star Jackie Robinson holding his young son Jackie Jr. on his lap as he sits with his wife Rachel on front steps of their home], July 1949 (1041.2005)

Jackie Robinson was born 100 years ago today.

“Hooray Hooray, The Time Has Really Come!”
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in 1947. In Jersey City, New Jersey, on April 18, 1946, while playing for the Montreal Royals (farm club team of the Brooklyn Dodgers) and against the Jersey City Giants (farm club team of the New York Giants), Jackie Robinson “broke the color barrier in a game between two minor league clubs,” (the Royals won, 14-1). Opening today is a great exhibition “In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend” at the Museum of the City of New York. A beautiful portrait by Nina Leen (1914-1995), pair of contemporaneous songs (Brownie McGhee’s song is dedicated to Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby), and a thoughtful sports page to commemorate the centennial of the birth of Jackie Robinson (1919-1972).
“Cleveland’s got Larry Doby and Brooklyn’s got Jackie Robinson!”

Joe Cummiskey, PM, October 25, 1945, p. 13

‘Second Lincoln’

I asked [Branch] Rickey too what the reaction has been since the news of Robinson’s signing.

“I have been flooded with telegrams and letters and phone calls,” he said. “Only one was bitterly derogatory… I had another calling me ‘a second Lincoln’ and that was from Chicago.”

He said that it was mostly spontaneous praise…

Robbie – and what a name for a Dodger possibility – was born Jan. 31, 1919, at Cairo, Ga. He moved with his family to Pasadena, Cal., when he was a year old. He was a standout star in all sports at Muir Technical High and Pasadena Junior College, where he played baseball, basketball, and football and was a 25-foot broad jumper. At UCLA he stood out as a great halfback and in 1942 he played in both the Chicago and the Honolulu all star games. He was a lieutenant in the Army until his release last Summer.

Rickey told me today that there’s a lot buzzing around his head now. But the man who has spent most of his life in baseball is a hard guy to shave. And I’ve heard from history that so was a guy named Abe.”
PM, October 25, 1945, p. 13

Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra, Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?, 1949 (archive.org)

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Wartime in New York: Weegee’s Signs of War 2

PM, January 18, 1943, Vol. III, No. 184, p. 7

Wartime New York: Our Little Businessmen Bounced Around by War
Signs of the times reproduced below. All were photographed this weekend in New York. The closings and removals had a variety of causes: drafting of proprietors, shortages of manpower, gas rationing that prevents regular customers from reaching retail establishments, shortage of materials for manufacture. Weegee, who took these pictures, reports that the Chinese laundries were closed in bunches, because the men are enlisting, or answering draft calls. Pool rooms and candy stores have been hit, partly by war, partly by removal of slot machines.

Weegee, [Sign in barbershop window, New York], January 18, 1943 (15366.1993)

There’s a barber shortage on the Bowery.

Chinese curio store doubles up with rival.
There’s a barber shortage on the Bowery.
This establishment has already closed.
Vacant store becomes baby carriage depot.
James Butler grocery store, that’s all.
Hamburger joint will re-open, they hope.
Musical instrument store shuts up shop.
Leon is gone, but salve is still on sale.
Tailor going out of business.

Weegee, [Sign in store window, New York], January 18, 1943 (15381.1993)

Hamburger joint will re-open, they hope.

PM, January 18, 1943, Vol. III, No. 184, pp. 6-7

Weegee’s photos of the home-front in New York during World War Two are lesser-known and under-examined. (Perhaps they are not as lively as photos of dead gangsters or as hot as photos of burning buildings or as arresting as photos of people getting… yet they are significant.) This is particularly true of his photos (peppered with a bit of humor and unique eccentricity) of signs in shop windows. Looking at Weegee’s photos chronologically and their corresponding versions in newspapers, one could conclude that the events of World War Two, and Weegee’s awareness of the horrors in Eastern Europe, are the primary reasons that by the beginning of 1943, and continuing for the next 25 years, Weegee (1899-1968) had almost entirely stopped making the crime photos that he is famous for today. (There are a few notable exceptions, like the arrests of Frank Pape and Myrtle from Myrtle Ave.) C.G. Conn Ltd., 11 West 48th St., musical instrument makers, starting in the 1870s, stopped making musical instruments and made military instruments during the war. (Slot machines?) On the opposite page (a poignant reminder of what Weegee’s world, the rest of the world, and some newspapers, were like in early 1943) is an excerpt from Last Train from Berlin: An Eye-Witness Account of Germany at War (1942) by Howard K. Smith (1914-2002), a CBS war correspondent. In the center is a critique of Nazi photographic propaganda.

Weegee, [Sign in vacant store window, New York], January 18, 1943 (15374.1993)

Vacant store becomes baby carriage depot.

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Atget’s Magnificent Door Knockers (1)

Eugène Atget, Heurtoir de Hôtel du Maréchal de Montmorency, Rue de Varenne 57, 1900 (2008.111.18)

When Atget sold a print of this photograph to the BNVP, his description of the work read “Rue de Varenne, 57 (7e Arr)–Hotel du Marcechal du Montmorency. Magnifique heuroir (Magnificent Door knocker).” Cited in Molly Nesibt’s, Atget’s Seven Albums, Appendix. (2008.111.18)

Google Street View, 57 Rue de Varenne, April 2018

This magnificent and lively door knocker appears to still exist in its original location. It seems to be almost unchanged, perhaps just slightly weathered, in the 119 years since Atget made his photograph.

Eugène Atget, Hotel d’Ecquevilly, 60 Rue de Turenne, 1901, (2010.114.17)

Google Street View, 60 Rue de Turenne, August 2017

This magnificent and whimsical door knocker (or at least most of it) appears to still exist in its original location, in the streets of Paris.

A selection of Eugène Atget’s magnificent door knockers presented in chronological order is an unlikely collaboration between Eugène Atget (1857-1927), Google Street View, and me. This is the first of five blog posts and there is an accompanying Google map.

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