Blog » January 2012

Mystery Monday (1/30)


Welcome back to another Mystery Monday contest! Every Monday, we’re going to post a photo from our collection and invite anyone to guess its location. The first person to correctly identify the location will win a prize. To start the year, we’ll be offering the winner a $50 discount to any framed photograph in our collection.
By the way, last week’s Mystery Monday contest was revealed! Check the comments for the location by clicking here.


Drunken Pilot

This video features stunt pilot, Kyle Franklin, performing his famous “Ben Whabnaski Comedy Act.” Would you ride in a plane with him?


What's In a Photograph? (1/26)

If you missed the series introduction, you can read it here.

Bill Stagg, homesteader, in front of his barn, Pie Town, New Mexico.

Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Look at this picture – look at it quickly, without reading anything – and then guess the year it was taken. You could guess any year in the last hundred or so, and (allowing for colorization) you’d have an equal chance of being right. And the same is true of the place – take away the mountains in the far distance, and this could be almost anywhere. Since the year the first wood-sided barn was built, all over the country, barns have been slumping and sliding into the landscape, nearly but never quite falling down. And the owners have been standing outside them, horses in hand, proud as can be. This is my land; these are my horses; this is my barn.


Mystery Monday (1/23)


Welcome back to another Mystery Monday contest! Every Monday, we’re going to post a photo from our collection and invite anyone to guess its location. The first person to correctly identify the location will win a prize. To start the year, we’ll be offering the winner a $50 discount to any framed photograph in our collection.

This week’s photo is indeed in the United States and could very well be one of the coolest Mystery Monday photos yet.

Feel free to leave your observations and guesses in the comment box at the bottom of every post.


What's In a Photograph? (1/20)

If you missed the series introduction, you can read it here.

A cross roads store, bar, “juke joint,” and gas station in the cotton plantation area, Melrose, LA., ca. 1940.

Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

To paraphrase a line I read not long ago about pictures, they capture a moment but can contain a world. A Juke Joint at a cross-roads in Louisiana about 1940. A place of refuge and rejuvenation. And who could have known that such places would also give birth to a musical genre that all artists all over the world consider to be the musical staff of life, as basic and necessary as breathing. “Hey Mr. Johnson, play me some Blues.” And who is that guy sitting there with shoulders so weighted down that we can almost feel it ourselves? We can’t see his face but we can see he’s big and we somehow know he’s pretty old. We’d like to know more about him and that place. They say if you look at a picture long enough it will give you the answers to the questions you ask. Let’s look at it some more.


Mystery Monday (1/16)


Welcome back to another Mystery Monday contest! Every Monday, we’re going to post a photo from our collection and invite anyone to guess it’s location. The first person to correctly identify the location will win a prize. To start the year, we’ll be offering the winner a $50 discount to any framed photograph in our collection.

Feel free to leave your observations and guesses in the comment box at the bottom of every post.


Crops from Space

Earlier this week, we stumbled across a blog that featured some of NASA’s amazing satellite images of crops around the world. Have you ever seen anything like this before?

Image: NASA


What's In a Photograph? (1/11)

Welcome back to our new weekly blog series called “What’s In a Photograph?”
If you missed last week’s series introduction, you can read it here.

Orchestra during intermission at square dance; notice sweated shirt of host, McIntosh County, Oklahoma, ca. 1940.

Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

If you’ve ever been to a country square dance, you know that all you need to get folks dancing is a guitar and a fiddle, so it’s not a misnomer to label this pair an “orchestra”. If they know how to play – my money is betting they do, judging from the guitarist’s hat, and the way the fiddler is holding his bow – these two could swing the room into a frenzy. If you doubt the point, then, as the caption suggests, check out the sweat-soaked shirt of the guy to the right. He’s been feeling it! Maybe, as the caption says, he’s the host. Or he might be a dancer who’s jotting down the phone number of someone sweet he just danced with. Cant’ you just hear the caller: “Swing your partner, do-si-do, promenade and let her go.”


Mystery Monday (1/9)


Welcome to our very first Mystery Monday contest for 2012! Every Monday, we’re going to post a photo from our collection and invite anyone to guess it’s location. The first person to correctly identify the location will win a prize. To start the year, we’ll be offering the winner a $50 discount to any framed photograph in our collection.

Feel free to leave your observations and guesses in the comment box at the bottom of every post.

If you’ve been playing for a while, then you know how this works. If not, be sure to read the guidelines below:


What's In a Photograph?

The famous Berenice Abbott once said, “Photography helps people to see.” 

There’s much to say about that quote, but we’d like to focus on how historical photographs actually allow us to see the past. As time goes on, our memories easily become dependent on the photographs we take – and without them, those memories can easily fade away. But what do we think about photographs that aren’t directly connected to our memories? What purpose do they serve and what do they allow us to see? What understanding is to be gained from seeing life as it was before our time? In an attempt to answer those questions, we’d like to introduce you to our newest blog series, called “What’s In a Photograph?”

Every week, we plan to display a historic photograph on our blog along with some words on what we’ve observed or learned from the picture. We’re not really sure where these thoughts will lead, but we can be certain that these photos will help us see things that we would otherwise have a hard time seeing.

We invite you join us in sharing what you see in the comment box below. We look forward to discussing these photographs with you!  

Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.