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I've experimented a little in presenting photographic images on a slightly different medium, and the results are interesting, Take for example Arthur Rothstein's classic 1936 "Father and Son" (actually, the "son" should be a plural, as there are two little kids rushing in the photo): I've used a 25 meg file and printed (lasered) rather small on a piece of antique tissue-guard paper--the paper, from 1830, is fantastically light, yet very strong for its remarkable thinness. The result of the modern, small Rothstein printed on the 180-year-old paper looks "believable" in its own odd way.
JF Ptak Science Books [Continuing an earlier Post #1398]
This is what defeat looks like, or at least so it did in the Philippines in 1907, when the revolt against the Spanish and the Americans was finally at end, for the insurgents.
Ablen Faustino (fl. 1880-1907), Philippine religious and resistance leader, was still fighting against the American government seven years after the U.S. had claimed victory over the Spanish in the Philippines, and represented the last bit of Philippine resistance to American occupation and sovereignty.There are many stories regarding his final disposition—some of which having the man escape into the woods to die an old man—but from the look of Faustino in this picture it seems as though he was going nowhere, except for a short walk into the heart of darkness that would swallow him just after the photo was taken. (The original photo is available on our blog bookstore site, here.)
On the one Faustino was a terrorist; on the other he was a patriot and holyman fighting for his country.He had fought the Spanish occupiers in the 1880’s until he was captured and imprisoned.After his release and following the American victory, he founded a religious/insurgent group—the Pulahans--whose ultimate religious experience was to defeat the invaders or die trying.(From where I sit it seems as the requisite belief was death in battle for this struggle rather than the actual victory which was the benefit to the followers.) The Pulahans for the most part eschewed firearms and other “modern” weapons, launching themselves into battle with bolos, knives, and little else, hoping for hand-to-hand fighting.It is reported that there were 10,000-15,000 of these troops, making them a formidable army, frightening if you were one of the soldiers that they were going to attack.
These post-war Pulahan Wars lasted from 1902 to 1907, ending with their leader’s capture by Philippine Constabulary and the 8th U.S. Infantry.One of the few official reports on Faustino’s capture was recorded in a legal document regarding jurisprudence in the arrest of the others who were with him that day.In U.S. v. Espiridion Rota et al (found in the Supreme Court Reports of the Philippine Islands, volume IX, published in Manila in 1908), the unfortunate story of the application of law to the other five men is told, as is the mention of Faustino’s capture.It turns out that when the others were taken into custody and the wheels of justice began to turn, they all pleaded guilty, and charged with the crime of brigandage.Rota was sentenced to hanging and the others to imprisonment for 35 (+) years.Plus court costs.Their case was appealed because it was said the men had no idea what the guilty plea would get for them in the punishment phase; the Supreme Court upheld the conviction as well as the discipline, which was a little moot for Rota as he had already been hanged.
What one might infer from this, I think, is that Faustino’s date with his punishment was probably met right there by the hut in which this photo was taken; that his destiny was sealed; and that rather than martyr a religious leader, the troops merely took the severely wounded(and beaten?) man into the woods and disappeared him.
According to the historical sites which have used the other two photos of mine of this event (all done freely and without attribution, unfortunately), these are the only known photos of Faustino’s last times.
Another version of the capture of Faustino is less shining:
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post Part of the series on World War I
This wonderful, contemplative, lonely, sad, and ultimately draining photograph depicts a camouflaged road somewhere on the Western Front. That's rather a prosaic term for that atrocious line of battle that stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland, where hundreds/thousands of miles of trenches were dug and filled and fought over, where millions of shells were shot and exploded, and millions of soldiers and civilians killed and wounded.
The "Western Front" really doesn't quite do as a descriptor.
But here we are, just the same. And so the image above, with the man on a bicycle on a well-used road--he's moving along under a long canopy of netting designed to obscure/hide the road from telescopic viewing or eyes-in-the-sky. When this photo was made for the Western Newspaper Union, mid-1918, the war was nearly over. But still there was the fighting, and the supply lines for the millions of troops, right to the bitter end at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
And the full version:
The photograph itself is one from a collection of hundreds here from news photo service agencies, images made of the War from a pool of photographers who covered the action for American newspapers and magazines, and whose work was necessarily censored. The photographs would be selected/ordered by a news agency, and the caption of explanation would be provided by the news photo service (as seen above).
Michael Beschloss posted this remarkable photograph of the Lower East Side on Mulberry Street, a rare color photo made around 1900. There is a lot of life going on here--people posing for the photographer (standing on an elevated platform with a large view camera, no telling who or what he was imaging), people caught in their daily lives, people. Under the Paper Microscope the image reveals all sorts of sub-images, photos-within-photos, making it a fascinating exercise in exploration.
For example, the two men hiked-up on the back of a moving wagon on the bottom-right seem to be enjoying themselves in expectation, the man on the left about to toss something underhanded, the guy on the right in a bow tie getting ready with a smile to enjoy what was going to happen. To their right: a man with a sales platform draped from his neck, watching a girl rush by, his pocket stuffed with paper.
In my travels in and out of imagery and books, I've kept a small space allocated in what is left of my memory palace for images of the working poor and the laboring classes. Most of the world's population of course has been and still is composed chiefly of the daily (and not so) laborer, but if you were to measure images that were made of these folks while at work or with the tools of their trade, and compare it to the rest of the images of more-exalted people spending their time doing more-exalted things, I would guess that the images of the working classes would be vastly outweighed by the rest, at least in the ancinet to early-modern times (of say 1925)--that is why it is so very interesting to see third-quarter 19th century photographs of these people.
This image was made by William Carrick (1827-1878, born in Scotland but who spent his life chiefly in Russia) in the 1860's, and is found at the National Gallery of Scotland, here. Carrick made important contributions to the ethnography and the history of photogaphy, documenting the lifestyle and costume of Russian peasants in the country. It is probable that he made his series cartes de visite images of itinerant trades people as a sort of postcard to the tourist and taveling class--but what happened of course is that he recorded in great detail bits of everyday life that was in general invivible to the main sttream of people who were in the image-making class. And so Carrick produced images of knife sharpeners, and tool sellers, and milk haulsers, and woodcarvers and hackmen and chimney sweeps and so on, pictures of the people who made the city run. I was particularly struck by this image of a boy selling abacuses/abaci--Im not sure that I 've seen a photograph/engraving of a street vendor of this sort of instrument, but here one is--a boy in the 'tween years, wearing boots way too big, with a woven basket full of abacuses/abaci. (The varities here have two ranks of four beads--one for quarter-rubles and the other for quarter kopeks--while the other wires hold ten beads apiece.)
Maybe the boy isn't a 'tween--maybe he's younger than that. Maybe the boy is a girl. In any event, the basket looks heavy, and I'm sure the child returned home with a weary back at the end of the day.
In this stereographic photograph of a group of 3,000 U.S. soldiers (prepared to fight in Europe in WWI, ca. 1917/1918), there is a smaller contingent in two rows, in front, consierably removed from the rest of the formation. This is difficult to see in the first image. However, with a more concentrated view and deeper scan, this is a little more evident, below:
This view still shows the first row of soldiers; that more-distant third row differentiation is much more defined here--the depth of the mass of the formation is starting to really come into focus. The next image shows the heads of the men in the second row, but mostly concentrates on that third row, and beyond:
The final view is just above the heads of the sldiers in the third rank, and more clearly shows the those men in the rear of the formation, including that final rank, which is a profile of men marching. This enlargement represents a section in the original photograph that measures less than 10x6mm--60 square millimeters of great density, complexity, insight, and beauty.
Many years ago in D.C. I bought part of the estate library of Parmelee C. Daniels--the books had been passed down to the next generation, and after their passing some of those books came into my bookstore. Among them was this wonderful photograph, made by P.V. Reyes of Avalon California in 1923. But it wasn't until tonight that I could easily put together the history of the image. (And when I said "small mystery solved" I meant that it was a small mystery to me--no doubt there will be many others who will identify this instrument on first light).
I found that the photograph was made during the 1923 Solar Eclipse Expedition to Santa Catalina Island at Camp Wrigley, and was attended by Daniels and a host of the Big Names of astronomy of the 19-teens and 'twenties. Daniels was a professor at Drake University in Des Moines, and the school's telescope was packed up and made the trip to the Pacific. I do believe that this is the 8.5-inch refractor that was the gift to the school of General Drake in 1893, although I could be wrong.
Here's the image of the telescope (with Daniels standing on the box, President of Drake University and astronomy professor Dr. Morehouse, and Prof. Edwin B. Frost. The image comes from the University of Chicago:
[PC Daniels photo on the solar eclipse expedition of 1923 via the University of Chicago, http://storage.lib.uchicago.edu/ucpa/series6/derivatives_series6/apf6-03446-031r.jpg]
And so the story of this photograph gained some life tonight by me simply plumbing the intertubes for information. Unfortunately I do not know the identity of the boy in the sailor's suit.
8 1/4" Brashear/Warner&Swasey refractor, 1894. (Curiously, in a
dedicatory article in the 1922 issue of "Popular Astronomy" it is
described by the chief astronomer at Drake University, Daniel Morehouse
as a 9" telescope). According to Kirby-Smith (U.S. Observatories, Van
Nostrand Reinhold), it has an interchangeable front flint element for
visual or photographic work, and has a 5" doublet Brashear camera and a
polarizing solar eyepiece. Possibly also, a filar micrometer and a
This image shows one of the happy moments during the First World War--rather, a happy moment right before the end of the war, just a few days after the Armistice (11-11-1918, on the 11th minute of the 11th hour). The image shows the British army being welcomed into the city of Lille on October 17, 1918--the city had been occupied by the Germans right at the beginning of the war in the middle of October, 1914, and was severely punished for a deception perpetrated in its defense, with the German army burning down an entire section of the ancient city in revenge.
The picture was published on 15 November 1918, a few days after the end of the war. In the detail of this photo is revealed a small and unexpected kindness:
A bit of calm, or at least a bit of a place that could not be reached by shells or bullets, was found bellow ground in the cellars of Douaumont Fort, in Verdun. These images were made at the very end of 1916, and published in The Illustrated London News for 13 January 1917. These images show another side of that battle, of soldiers meeting for religious services and for medical attention in the cellars ("...the subterranean, vaulted, stone-built casements, deep underground beyond possibility of penetration by the heaviest bomb") of one of the barrier-forts surrounding Verdun, Douaumont.
This image stabbed me right in the eyeball. It popped out while I was grazing in a heavy lap-busting volume of The Illustrated London News for 26 March 1949--the yearly volume resists being held in just one hand. Anyway it was first a photo of new tanks in an American cavalry regiment; beneath that, though, was this image:
The following images were made by Farm Security Administration/Office of
War Information photographers during World War II and are part of the
famous FSA photography series that I have written about here.
The color photographs--which were made in the first decade or so of
the use of this new medium--represented only about 1,600 of the
collection of 160,000 images in the FSA archive, and are far less known
than their black-and-white complements, many of which are new iconic
symbols for this period. The color images are beautiful works, and
somehow seem to bring these historic images a little closer to the
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post Part of the Zoomology series
From the photography collection at the Library of Congress, offering deep and big graphic files. The file photograph looked interesting, but on closer inspection the magnificent central figure is revealed:
"Chain gang of convicts engaged in road work. Pitt County, North
Carolina. Autumn 1910. The inmates were quartered in the wagons shown in
the picture. Wagons were equipped with bunks and move from place to
place as labor is utilized. The central figure in the picture is J.Z.
McLawhon, who was at that time county superintendent of chain gangs. The
dogs are bloodhounds used for running down any attempted escapes."
These images from the Library of Congress daguerreotype collection offer a photographic glimpse into the everyday working life of Americans 150 years ago. Not as many of these jobs are as extinct as their expectations for extinction: