Miami Beach, bathers in a frothy surf, 1921: "Panorama of Miami Beach".
1921, and reprinted this year. Quality digital image on photographic from high-end 1600-dpi scan.. By W.A. Fishbaugh. Excellent condition.
8.5 x 42 inches
Superb view of wintertime fun, made January 2, 1921, with hundreds of (mainly men) in the image. $75.00
JF Ptak Science Books
I've written a number of times on this blog about WWI images, many of which are in my own collection of News Service Photo Group images, like the one just below, which can be found here. Many of them are remarkable, astonishing even--especially those relating to soldiers whose war has ended, finding them as prisoners of war. At least they weren't dead, like the dozens of millions of other soldiers.
(Original photograph available at our blog bookstore here.)
I uncovered another of these images, tonight, long misplaced.
There were over 8 million soldiers taken prisoner during WWI, that in addition to the 21 million who were wounded and the 9.7 million killed: 38 million. Plus 6.8 million civilians who were killed: 45 million. And the numbers for civilians wounded are just, well, not reliable, as they were not really collected, or collectible. At the end of it all, there were probably between 50 to 75 million soldiers and civilians killed or wounded or taken captive during the war...not including civilians who were killed by the hardships or starvation caused by the conflict. Big, big numbers.
Some of these soldiers were taken in entire armies, surrenders of hundreds of thousands; and some came in pairs, or singles, as in the photo above. There are two captured Germans here, the two men in the middle, who are flanked by a British soldier and (I think) a Canadian officer, with two locals in the background. The short man front-and-center was paraded no doubt for his propaganda value--certainly not five feet tall, slender, with a tiny, not-average face. The Tommy is certainly enjoying the situation, while the officer maintains composure.
The photograph was made in 1918, a few months before the end of the war, but there was still fighting to be done, and the value of showing the the British and Allied publics the "face" of a now-wilting enemy must have been considerable. There was considerable control and tightness over the sort of images allowed to be produced and published coming from the front line, photographs being made by a "pool" of news photographers the contents of which were closely evaluated by military censors before being allowed to circulate to newspapers and magazines.
Daguerre, Sur un nouveau procede de polissage des plaques destinees a recevoir les images photographiques.... Paris`: Academie des Sciences, 1843.
In: Comptes rendus, the weekly issue for 5 March 1843, volume 16 pp 588-592 [Continuation of title];"...procede qui permet d'obtainir des resultants identiques tant que les circonstances exterieurs restent les memes." Published "letter" from Daguerre to Arago. We offer the entire weekly issue of 566-596 (30pp), removed from a larger bound collection, with the original wrappers. The paper is crisp and bright and fine.
Daguerre felt the need to remedy a problem that he attributed to the general lack of care in the preliminary cleaning and polishing of the plates (See Gernsheim, "L. J. M. Daguerre," page 119). In this letter to Arago he describes a new procedure. (A two-page but earlier version was published in Annales De Chemie et de Physique, 3 Series, Volume 7 Pages 374-37 of this same year.) $400
JF Ptak Science Books
The first published photographic image, or "sunpicture", illustrating an excellent collection of extremely early papers on photography, 1839.
Bird, Golding. "A Treatise on Photogenic Drawing." Five papers in a series found and bound in the London-published journal, The Mirror. These five issues comprise a very early work on the new science of photography by Dr. Golding Bird, appearing in issues from April 20-May 25, 1839: this includes "A treatise on photogenic drawing", (pp. 241-44); and also "The new art - photography", (pp. 261-2, 281-3, 317-18, 333-335.)
It is page 241 (issue no. 945, Saturday April 20) that particularly peaked my interest--it contains the First Image of a Photogenic Drawing. This is essentially the first publication of an image produced by any sort of photographic process. The process here is the 'sun picture", a photographic process, making this the first published "photographic" image, but really it is more like the first publication of a photographic image that was produced via woodcut. It predates the first mass-published photograph by four years and the first (entirely) photographically illustrated book (The Pencil of Nature) by six years. The sun picture, or heliotype, was first described in print in 1801 by both Thomas Wedgewood and Humphrey Davy, and although the process was at least 39 years old at this time there are no recorded *published* images produced by that process. (The woodcut is much larger than usual for The Mirror, and is also of a unique brown/red color, and of a different hue than any other woodcut that we have seen in any of the issues of the first 45 years of this publication.)
"...facsimile of a photogenic drawing of ferns (done on the block) as a plate [to illustrate an article serialized by Dr. Golding Bird "A Treatise on Photogenic Drawing" and reprinted in the Magazine of Natural History, p. 234-44]...printed in rust to imitate the photogenic drawing... The facsimile of the photogenic drawing done directly from an exposure on the block is the first photographic image published. The finished example is printed directly from the block in a reddish brown to match the color of Talbot's first salt print photograms."--Hanson Collection catalog, p. 6 [Source, here.]
Under the title, "the First Reproduction of a Photograph",the George Eastman House of Photography's journal, the Image (volume 11/2, 1962) notes:
"On April 20, 1839, the London magazine The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, featured as its cover a "Facsimile of a Photogenic Drawing." There is a copy in the George Eastman House collection. It is a picture —in negative—of three stalks of leaves. The original was made by Golding Bird, "a distinguished botanist" by following William Henry Fox Talbot's newly invented process, the details of which were made public at the Royal Society on February 21. Paper was made light sensitive by bathing it first in sodium chloride solution, then, after sponging the surface, in a solution of silver nitrate. The material could be used in two ways: to make, as Golding Bird did, a contact print, pressing flat objects to the surface during exposure to light, or in a camera. Both techniques produced negative images, which were fixed in a strong solution of sodium chloride. Talbot named his invention "photogenic drawing." His friend, Sir John Herschel, proposed for it the word "photography."
"Thus to The Mirror falls the honor of having first published a reproduction of a photograph. The facsimile which was presented to its readers was the work of a draftsman, who made a drawing of the photograph, and a wood engraver, who cut the block..”
The Image continues:
"Only a week later, on April 27, The Magazine of Science and School of Arts, another London magazine, featured three "Fac-similes of Photogenic Drawings" on its cover: two botanical specimens; (Fool's Parsley and Grass of Parnassus), and a piece of lace. Although wood engravings created by skill of hand, they approach photography more closely. For the very wooden block used for the printing plate was itself sensitized, just as Bird's paper had been sensitized, and the engraver followed with his burin the photographic image itself, rather than the artist's drawing."
"The photogenic drawings were contributed to the magazine by a reader who signed himself "G.F." He commented, in his covering letter published in the same issue: "I send you three drawings of this new art, which were impressed at once on box-wood, and therefore are fit for the graver, without any other preparation. I flatter myself that this process may be useful to carvers and wood engravers, not only to those who cut the fine objects of artistical design, but still more to those who cut patterns and blocks for lace, muslin, calico-printing, paper-hanging, &c., as by this simple means the errors, expense, and time of the draughtsman may be wholly saved, and in a minute or two the most elaborate picture or design, or the most complicated machinery, be delineated with the utmost truth and clearness."
Gernsheim states in his History of Photography that the first photographic camera ever made for sale to the public was advertised by Francis West, an optician of 83 Fleet Street, London, and published in this issue.
Bird later reworked these sections of the Mirror into elements of and a chapter in his Elements of Natural Philosophy; (being an experimental introduction to the study of the physical sciences; revised and enlarged third London edition, Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1848). This article was reproduced in the Journal of the Franklin Institute in September 1839 as "Observations on the Application of Heliographic or Photogenic Drawing to Botanical Purposes; with an account of an economic mode of preparing the Paper: "in a Letter to the Editor of the magazine of Natural History"
Published in the volume containing a half-year of The Mirror, in original leather and boards. Ex-library, with scant markings. Good condition. SOLD
JF Ptak Science Books
Arago/Daguerre. "Der Daguerreotyp. (Bei allgeinen und man kann wohl himzusetzen, uebertriebenen Interesse, welches die Anzeige von Hrn. Daguerre's Entdeckung im Publicum gefunden hat, glauben wir den Lesern einen Dienst zu erweisen, wenn wir hier Hrn. Arago's Bericht uber dieselbe.. " Pp 193-216
"Daguerre's Vorschrift zur Bereitung eines gegen Lichtairkungen empfindlichen Papiers. (Nach einer Note von Biot in den Compt. ren. T VIII p.246...)" Pp 217-221.
Offered in Band 49, No. 9, 1839, Annalen der Physik., 619pp. Bound in half cloth, marbled covers. Nice copy. Sacrce. $500.00
Perhaps the first publication in a German scientific journal on the newly announced discovery of photography by Louis Daguerre made in the Comptes Rendus in 15 January 1839 and the technical report made by him 13 August, 1839.
Includes a significant paper in the establishment of Agricultural Chemistry by Justus von Liebig. "Ueber die Erscheinung der Gährung, Fäulniss und Verwesung, und ihre Ursachen", 45pp.
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post (Part of the series on the History of Blank, Empty and Missing Things.)
Original photograph, ca. 1880-1885. 9x11.5 inches, pasted on heavier stock. Good condition. $300
I've owned this photograph for a long time. It has been in the files for many years, waiting for something to happen to it, waiting for it to be a little understood in some slight way of identification. I've still not gotten around to it. To me, it has always seemed like a photograph of a small post out in the American Far West, 90 men in dress uniform inside their "fort", or outpost, the commander and the camp dog addressed in front and the sergeants out on the flanks. The enlisted men stand at ease.
I'm really not sure though who or where they are. The camp is very spread out, for one thing. And for the age (I reckon this to be made around 1885, perhaps a little earlier) I would've thought that boots would've been visible under trousers. And their hats/helmets--they really don't look to be made for the sun, and also seem too much of a bull's eye/target. That's on first glance--nothing about their uniform seems fitted to the place: no protection from the sun, trousers caught on low burrs and scrub, and so on. But the uniforms--and helmets--seem to be in line with the Prussian-influenced dress of the time (or at least around 1882), including the ribbon-y materials draped around the commander's neck. (I really don't know enough about U.S. Army uniforms to make a good qualified guess about who these men are.)
But the photo as art has always intrigued me, capturing the heart of a lonely place. I know, though, that having spent a little time hiking in the desert that the place is hardly empty, or blank. But it can still be lonely if you want it to be, a state which isn't dependent on any of the conditions mentioned in the title of this post--its a created space, the loneliness.
I've wondered too about who those people are, sitting together, (huddled?) at the far end of the soldiers' barracks, a speck visible over the shoulder of the sergeant (the last figure on the right in the top photo)? I suspect they must be Native Americans, or at least indigenous people. They've faded into history too with the rest of the people in the photograph, a chance at a piece of tangible memory missed because, well, no one made any notes (that survived, at least) about the image.
(This image is available for purchase via our blog bookstore, here.)
ITEM: Weekly issue of Illustrirte Zeitung (Leipzig) for 22 July 1915. 15x11 inches, pp 103-130, with many illustrations. Removed from larger bound volume, with that evidence along the spine. Nice copy, fine quality paper. $45 Ref: JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
This image, from the 22 Juli 1915 issue of the Illustrirte Zeitung (Leipzig) shows a collection of German soldiers that were treated at a medical aidstation. The woman in white is the German crown princess, accompanied by her four navy-uniform-clad sons, are adrift in a sea of astonished ("verwundete", or amazed) soldiers who I guess were given leave from the war, celebrating their survival at the old spa and vacation spot Ostseebad, in Zoppot (Sopot, Poland).
And the detail:
ITEMS: three photographs, all 1918, as shown. Each 9x7 inches, in very good conidtion. Each $250. Ref: JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
The following photos were found in my small collection of World War I news photo service images, all of which were made in 1918. They show the preparation of barbed wire entanglements--these were devilish things, made to grab a soldier and suck them in into a deeper hold when resisted, like a sort of sharp, metallic quicksand. Since there were something like 12-25,000 miles of trenches dug during WWI, I think that it might be a safe bet to say that there were a million miles of barbed wire fencing laid down--that would be equal to about 75 feet of wiring for every soldier who served, or about 200 feet for every person killed. Given the tactics, the trenches, the barbed wire, the machine guns, the gas, and so on, it is no wonder that there was very little advancement over battlefields that stretched for miles and involved hundreds of thousands of troops, costing (sometimes) hundreds of thousands of casualties. It would have been just insane-nasty to have to charge through fields of this stuff while being bombed and shot at by people in holes.
No gloves, here, not for the soldier weaving the wire or for the spinner in the background:
I notice that in this photograph the only person wearing gloves is the lead model, front-and-center:
Here's the support staff assembling the