Category:

Early photography

From Atlas Obscura:

The Twilight of the Analog Photo Booth

The effort to save a rare beast on the road to extinction.

On a recent Saturday morning in New York, the analog photo booth in the Ace Hotel on 29th Street was out of order. Inside the booth, which costs $5 plus tax for a strip of four black-and-white photographs (cards accepted), a piece of paper hung askew atop the mirror, level with the sign reading “EYE LEVEL.” “Sorry, I’m broken …” it read. “I’ll be better soon. XO, Ace.” Barely a dozen of these film-based photo booths remain in the city, a fact that would have been inconceivable as recently as the 1990s.

In September 1925, the crowds stretched around the block for the first ever Photomaton studio, 30 blocks north of the present site of the Ace Hotel, at 51st Street and Broadway. Each subject paid 25 cents, was bathed in flashes of light, and waited eight minutes for a strip of eight photographs. Eighteen months later, the New York Times reported, “Young Photomaton Inventor Will Celebrate His First Million.” In today’s money, this would be close to $14 million.

Anatol Josepho, the inventor of the "Photomaton" photo booth that debuted in September 1925 at 1659 Broadway in New York City.
Anatol Josepho, the inventor of the “Photomaton” photo booth that debuted in September 1925 at 1659 Broadway in New York City. Library of Congress/LC-DIG-ggbain-25079

The inventor, Anatol Josepho, was born in 1894, and came from nothing. Josepho, né Josephowitz, grew up a banished Jew in Siberia. At 15, he went off to explore the world, starting in Berlin, where he bought a Brownie camera and learned to take photographs. Later, he took it to Budapest, to Shanghai, and eventually to New York. In Harlem, in 1925, he raised the $11,000 required to build a prototype for the first curtain-enclosed photo booth—the cost of nearly six reasonably sized houses at that time. Josepho was charming, and obsessed with the project, writes photographer Näkki Goranin. Despite being a newcomer to the city, “[he] was able to talk people into loaning him the money, find the appropriate machinists and engineers to help him build his Photomaton machine, and be sought out by the leading industrialists in America.”

Josepho stood on the shoulders of decades of tinkerers who had been flirting with this technology since the 1880s, when a craze for vending machines of all kinds, including seltzer, chocolate, and postcards, seized Europe and America. Concurrently, photographic technology was developing at a galloping pace. Some early booths offered prints for a penny, others unreliable tintypes with near-unrecognizable subjects. Throughout the 1920s, the technology was becoming more and more refined—until, in 1925, Josepho patented the booth that set the standard for the next 90 years.

Two friends pose for a picture in a photo booth, date unknown.
Two friends pose for a picture in a photo booth, date unknown. simpleinsomnia/CC BY 2.0

Before long the photo booth was everywhere: malls, bars, airports, post offices, Fred Astaire films. In the United States, they were often owned by the company PhotoMe, says Tim Garrett, an artist who co-runs the site Photobooth.Net with friend and colleague Brian Meacham.

Continue reading

The page, http://www.vintag.es/2015/11/rarely-seen-autochrome-photos-of-new.html , claims to display

Rarely Seen Autochrome Photos of New York in the Early 20th Century .

The images themselves span 18 years, from the earliest one dated with the year 1900, to the last, a photo of buildings with banners and signs exhorting the public to buy war bonds, with the date given as 1918. Not all of them are from New York City, several are attributed to places in Upstate New York. Though they are lovely to look at, and a few provide a glimpse of what everyday life for everyday people looked like in the thick of NYC, some people who have written into the comments section have revealed that the provenance of the images is not in all cases what the site represented them to be: some are not genuine Autochrome images at all, but colorized photos or lantern slides, and the one of two men playing chess was reportedly taken in Germany, not New York. Here are the comments, correcting some of the attributions of the images:

Some of these are not original autochromes but colorised black and white photos, e.g. the couple in Saratoga Springs, which is a detail from a colorisation by Sanna Dullaway: http://sannadullaway.com/0r…

Avatar

A number of critical errors. Image #1 (from the top down) is not an autochrome. Images #2 & 3 are autochromes by Charles Zoller (Rochester, NY). Image #4 is not an autochrome. Image #5 ( Foolish House) is an autochrome by Zoller. Images 6, 7, 8, & 9 are not autochromes. Image #10 (rooftops) is an autochrome in the collection of Wm. B. Becker and should be credited to him. Images 11, 12, 13, & 14 are by Zoller. All the Zoller autochromes are owned by the George Eastman Museum and should be credited to them. Image # 15 (chess players) is probably by Alfred Stieglitz or possibly by Edward Steichen and was taken in Germany. The last image (war bond rally) is an autochrome by J. D. Willis from the collection of Mark Jacobs.
Nearly all the non-autochrome images identified in this post are actually black & white lantern slides that have been digitally colored

 

  • Avatar

    Right! 6-7-8-9 are not color photographs at all, but Photochrom prints made from black and white negatives. You can see the originals online at the Library of Congress — the process is explained here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures…

    And if you’re interested in real Autochromes, including the rare New York rooftops image (#10 above), see the original postings online at the American Museum of Photography: http://photographymuseum.co…

 

 

 …

Continue reading

From The Observer

By Ann Votaw 10/20/2017

I have a soft spot for cemeteries.

Recently, I posted an Instagram photo of a crumbling headstone and got a like from Jolene Lupo, a stranger of the alive variety.

But upon closer inspection of her profile pic—a black and white of a marble-eyed brunette—I wondered if Lupo might not be a phantom.

My sleuthing revealed Lupo was not a hallucination but the tintype studio manager of Penumbra Foundation, a Manhattan nonprofit dedicated to historical photography. The more I scrolled through her feed, the more I became enchanted with tintypes—kind-of like metal Polaroids of the mid-1800s.

As the child of antique fanatics, I grew up going to flea markets. Yet I was familiar with tintypes of whiskered soldiers, not the bearded hipsters I saw on Penumbra’s accounts.

Continue reading

Description

Following the trauma of the Civil War, the intersection of mourning on a national scale with the new technology of photography gave rise to a chilling phenomenon: “spirit photography,” the supposed art of capturing departed loved ones on film. Author and curator of religion at the National Museum of American History, Peter Manseau, shares the story of infamous spirit photographer William Mumler, the fraud allegations that haunted him, and a nation grasping for the promise of the afterlife.

Book Talk: The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost
Tuesday, October 24
Doors: 6:00 pm
Event: 6:30 pm
$5 General Admission / Free for Members

BHS Members: to reserve tickets at the member price, click on “Tickets” and enter your Member ID on the following page after clicking on “Enter Promotional Code.”

Date and Time

Tue, October 24, 2017

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar

Location

Brooklyn Historical Society

128 Pierrepont St

Brooklyn, NY 11201

View Map

REFUND POLICY Brooklyn Historical Society requires 24 hours notice before the date of the event to refund a ticket. No refunds are provided after that point. No refunds are provided on the day of the event and all subsequent days.

Continue reading

Mon 07 2017 , by

Up On The Roof

From the blog of The Museum of the City of New York:

Up on the roof, entertainment en plein air

Spring in New York City is glorious.  Allergy issues aside, the season of rebirth is especially welcome after this winter’s polar vortex shenanigans.  And though I celebrate the sunny days and refreshing rain of spring, I can see the heat waves forming on the horizon.  Summer is coming and with it a suffocating wall of humidity.

One of my best strategies to beat the heat is going to the theater. Be it a movie, musical, or play,  the cool darkness of a theater combined with a few hours of entertainment is my preferred place to be on an unbearably hot day.  A hundred years ago, this wasn’t so much the case.  Without air conditioning, the heat of the lights and the crush of fellow audience members could make visiting the theater  intolerable.  Not wishing to lose business during the summer months, theater owners came up with a new strategy: the roof!

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) [Roof Garden, Madison Square Garden Theatre.] ca. 1900.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, Madison Square Garden Theatre. ca. 1900. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.10866.

In the photograph above, a rooftop audience enjoys some light entertainment on the Madison Square Garden roof.  This MSG was located at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.  Designed by Stanford White, it was the second tallest building in the City at the time construction finished in 1890. Part of the fun for the audience was the chance to watch musical comedies and operettas from 32 stories off the ground. (Check out Mia’s early blog on the theater’s Diana statue.)

Further uptown at 44th and Broadway, the New York Theatre roof offered similar entertainment fare. The New York Theatre was originally built as the Olympia Theatre by  Oscar Hammerstein I (the grandfather of the Oscar Hammerstein from musical theater’s famous “Rodgers & Hammerstein”).

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, New York Theatre. ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.10880.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, New York Theatre. ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.10880.

Though a financial failure for Hammerstein I, the theater was only the second to be built in what would become the Times Square Theater District.  In 1895, the area was known as Longacre Square.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, New York Theatre. ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.10877.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, New York Theatre. ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.10877.

Hammerstein I’s second effort at extravagant outdoor entertainment was the  Paradise Roof Garden at 201 West 42nd Street.  Part enclosed space and part open air, the Garden spanned the roofs of  the Victoria Theatre and the Theatre Republic next door.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). [Roof Garden, Paradise atop Hammerstein's Victoria.] ca. 1904.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). Roof Garden, Paradise atop Hammerstein’s Victoria.]ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.10856.

The Paradise Roof Garden was run by Hammerstein I’s son Willie.  As the noise of an ever expanding New York drifted upward, the vaudeville shows presented on the roof adapted to include wordless routines and pantomime.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) [Roof Garden, Paradise atop Hammerstein's Victoria.] ca. 1904.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). Roof Garden, Paradise atop Hammerstein’s Victoria. ca.

Continue reading

From Museum of the City of New York blog: Summer in the City

Now that summer is in full swing, we look back at the ways New Yorkers have either escaped or embraced the heat.

The Drive in Central Park was a place to see and be seen, particularly for the wealthiest New Yorkers, who dressed in their finest attire and rode carriages through the park.

Byron Company. Central Park: The Drive, Summer. 1894. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17778

At the turn of the century, long black stockings typically accompanied women’s bathing suits (or bathing gowns, as they were called). Bathing suits became less restrictive a few years later, when women began participating in competitive swimming.

Byron Company. Sports, Bathing, Midland Beach. 1898. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17470

Before air conditioning, it was not uncommon for tenement dwellers to put their mattresses on the roof and sleep through the season’s hottest nights.

John Sloan. Roofs, Summer Night. 1906. Museum of the City of New York. 82.200.1

The Jackie Robinson Pool originally opened as the Colonial Park Pool in Harlem on August 8, 1936. It was one of 11 swimming pools opened throughout the city that year and funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal agency created to combat the Great Depression.

Sid Grossman. Federal Art Project. Colonial Park Swimming Pool, Harlem. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.9.58

Some New Yorkers preferred water hoses to swimming pools.

United States. Office of War Information. Children spraying a hose from a porch. 1944. Museum of the City of New York. 90.28.88

Every summer, Coney Island’s boardwalk bustles with city dwellers seeking a respite from the heat.

Andrew Herman. Federal Art Project. Feeding Ice-Cream to the Dog. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.5.34

Nathan’s Famous opened in Coney Island at Surf and Stillwell Avenues in 1916, where it still stands today and attracts scores of New Yorkers and tourists alike.

Andrew Herman. Federal Art Project. Nathan’s Hot Dog Stand, Coney Island. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.5.13

Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park began hosting an annual poolside beauty contest called Modern Venus in 1913. Beauty contests flourished as bathing suits became skimpier.

Reginald Marsh. Modern Venus Contest at Steeplechase Park. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 90.36.2.2.2F

After World War II, folk singers began congregating in Washington Square. The singers and their audience clashed with some residents of the neighborhood, who thought they were a nuisance. In 1947, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation started issuing permits for public performances in city parks. In 1961, Parks Commissioner Newbold Morris rejected folk singers’ applications to play in Washington Square. Protests ensued, culminating in a fight between the musicians and their supporters and the police seeking to clear the crowds. In the end, a compromise was reached, with folk singers being allowed in the park on Sunday afternoons.

Frederick Kelly. Musicians – Washington Square. 1962.

Continue reading

The Entire History Of Photography Is Now Accessible Through An Online Database

Searchable resource contains 110,000 photographers and others involved in photographic production

Marielle Castillo

The New York Public Magazine launched an incredibly useful photographic resource. The Photographers’ Identities Catalog (PIC) is an online collection of biographical data of around 110,000 photographers, studios, dealers and others involved in photography production.

The platform covers the entire world and history of the medium, including everything from early days daguerreotypes to present day images, making it a vast and growing resource for students, historians and photography lovers.

This project has been in the making for years. For David Lowe, Photography Specialist at the New York Public Library, PIC has been central to his work at NYPL. In 2003, he began surveying and rearranging their physical collection, noting locations of their cataloged material and storing all of a photographer’s work together, arranged alphabetically.

The beautiful interface was built by the NYPL Labs team, the Library’s digital innovation unit. The map is an experimental interface that makes use of CesiumJS, a JavaScript library for 3D maps. The information was sourced from original research by the NYPL Photography staff, as well as trusted biographical dictionaries, databases, websites published by photography scholars and catalogs, as well as Wikipedia and Wikidata.

The search and filtering options are pretty impressive. A quick search for any photographer yields a great amount of information, from basic stats like dates of birth and active years, but it can also reveal more specific details, including a map of where the photographer was active, the art collections that own the photographer’s work around the world, the photographic processes used, and more. Since the search engine is equipped with many filters, PIC is also great for exploring specific interests.

While PIC is the latest online resource for photographic information, it’s not the only one. Similar databases include Yale’s Photogrammar and the NYPL’s public domain visualization tool.

The Photographers’ Identities Catalog (PIC)

Continue reading

Retronaut’s New York

A pop-up exhibition of historic panoramas of New York City

“Greetings fellow time-travellers – my Retronautic time-machine is touching down on New York City’s 5th Avenue, and it will be delivering an extraordinary cargo of panoramic pictures of NYC – of more than one hundred years ago.” – The Retronaut, Wolfgang Wild.

That’s right, from February 25th, for a limited time, visitors are able to see the exhibition, Retronaut’s New York, in the lobby space of Premier Exhibitions 5th Avenue at 37th Street, New York; and even better, this special “pop up exhibition” is free to the public.

1902: The Sunday Parade, Fifth Avenue (Library of Congress)

Retronaut’s Wolfgang Wild has selected a set of extraordinary panoramic photographs capturing New York City more than a hundred years ago to create an exhibition that is unique. Each photograph has been painstakingly digitally cleaned and restored from the versions held by the Library of Congress, the results wiping away the decay of time and rendering the scenes of New York City into contemporary monochrome. These widescreen images should not, our minds tell us, exist – they are not the small, sepia and faded snapshots of the past that we expect to see. The images we see are on the same scale as our present, and – extraordinarily – over a century old.

1902: A scene in the ghetto (Library of Congress)

At the centre of the historic panoramas is a quite extraordinary image – a “Timescape” of Times Square created by Dynamichrome’s Jordan Lloyd. Lloyd has woven together fragments from Times Square’s hundred year history into a seamless and spectacular image where decades cascade into one another. The hypnotic result is a beautiful and surreal panoramic photograph, simultaneously instantly familiar and disconcertingly anachronistic at once.

1902: Manhattan Beach (Library of Congress)

Come along, and witness history before your very eyes!

Retronaut’s New York is presented in co-operation with Mashable, and produced by SC Exhibitions. For more about Retronaut visit: mashable.com/category/retronaut. And for Dynamichrome, see: dynamichrome.com

This pop-up exhibition of extraordinary, digitally restored photographs captures New York City at the turn of the 20th century. It’s only open until May 15, so be sure to get down there before it’s gone.

Continue reading

Alice Austen House presents: New Eyes On Alice Austen
Thursday, March 31, 2016 7–8:30 pm

Location: Floor Three, Susan and John Hess Family Theater, Whitney Museum of Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan, NY.

This roundtable discussion explores the early street photography and charged domestic imagery of Alice Austen (1866–1952). The panel focuses on themes of the New Woman, professional versus amateur photography, gender roles, same-sex relationships, immigration, and New York City history.

Speakers include Lillian Faderman (Lesbian and LGBT historian, and author of The Gay Revolution), Sarah Kate Gillespie (Curator of American Art at the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia), Richard Meyer (Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History, Stanford University), Lara Vapnek (Associate Professor of History, St. John’s University), and Laura Wexler (Professor of American Studies, Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University).

This event is presented in celebration of Women’s History Month and Alice Austen’s 150th birthday.

Tickets are required ($8 adults; $6 members, students, and seniors).

ABOUT THE ALICE AUSTEN HOUSE
The Alice Austen House keeps the daring spirit of the early American photographer alive by presenting changing exhibitions of Alice Austen’s pioneering photographs alongside works by contemporary photographers, and providing art education and a range of cultural programs. Austen and her partner Gertrude Tate spent nearly thirty years together in the Austen family’s home, a one-room Dutch farmhouse from c. 1690 with later Victorian additions. The Alice Austen House stands in a waterfront park on the shore of Staten Island with sweeping views of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

 …

Continue reading

Copyright © 2011-2017 Bygone NYC - All Rights Reserved