Sunday, 27 January 2013

1850s 1/4 plate US Daguerreotype

Gorgeous Young Couple 1/4 Plate Daguerreotype, Crisp & Sharp, Outstanding Holographic Depth. Image is Housed in a Worn Full Brown Leatherette Case w/ Split Spine and Nice Red Velvet Pillow w/ Grecian Urn Motif.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Cass Tech: Now and Then:

Some awfully clever folks over at ("exploring and understanding the city of Detroit") have sought to document the city's social and economic collapse by creating this clever yet very affecting project where vintage photographs of a thriving Cass Tech College circa 1990s have been laid over modern digital photograph of the school in its current dilapidated state. Forty Three of these very poignant yet quite creepy images can be seen here:

What I find especially amazing about this is just how perfectly they have managed to sync up the old pictures with the new ones. I've tried this myself and it is extremely hard. Methinks there may be technological jiggery-pokery involved here. Not that that is really a problem. I'd just love to know how they did it so well.

I had an interesting mini conversation with a friend about how images of Detroit's urban degradation (and the exploration of such places) is being used as "Ruin Porn" and directly ignoring the more real and far less romantic problem of the collapse of a social infrastructure. I think that while most romanticised images of ruins and ruined buildings (hey, photo-geeks have been getting off on images of ruined buildings since the dawn of Photography, look at Eugene Atget or the London Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings) ignore the social and economic realities of how they came to become ruined in the first place, I'm sure that the photographers of highlighting the issues here and not of simply exploiting the scenery. I think that these images pull off a double-whammy of being especially poignant, nostalgiac and romantic while at the same time adressing the very problems at hand through their arresting visual trickery.

Said friend also directed me towards a more light-hearted yet equally arresting and successful example of this current trend of laying-new-photos-over-old (or composite-photo-projects as they are more generally and more snappily titled) in the shape of these lovely images of New York Buildings and scenes seen in movie stills of the past:

Mad props to Erin and Anne for the heads up.

In Rodinsky's Room.

"Rodinsky's main occupation appeared to have been writing. Just as his contemporaries had written in hidden rooms, sealed-off attics and underground bunkers all over Eastern Europe. While studying in Krakow I heard how archives were assembled in the Warsaw ghetto in milk cans, then sealed with lead before being buried, in the vain hope that they would survive as a record of their authors; existence. The lone printed boldly in the books I retrieved from the synagogue in Greatorex Street came to mind: FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. 

...In the ghettos, diaries were written on any book that could be found, in as many languages as possible - French, Yiddish, Russian... - and in an attic in East London, in a later but parallel time, David Rodinsky sat alone and wrote in Letts diaries, on ild newspapers, cigarette packets, in Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Russian. Rodinsky would have been eighteen years old at the time of the ghetto uprising, slightly older than the average age of the rebel fighters. But he didn't bury his books, he didn't need to, he just locked the door and left a tomb without a body, maybe hoping someone in the future would find it and decode his tale. He shifted constantly in my mind from scholar to lunatic to hero."

From Rodinsky's Room by Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair, London, Granta Books, 1999.
Portrait of Rachel Lichtenstein by Marc Atkins, 1995