21 August 2004
The last of the 1940s photos, this one finishes off the desktops with the same subject as the first: World War II. The P-51 Mustang was one of the most used fighters of the war. Its long range finally allowed for fighter escort for the bombers making their runs over Germany. This particular shot is of one in flight over California, and after removing the scratches and other debris from the scan, proves to be one of the clearest of the bunch. Sadly the LIbrary of Congress archives contained no comparable shot of a P-38 Lightning.
As before, links are below to the archived originals. Now that the last of the photos have been posted, you can expect that I'll eventually get around to playing in Photoshop again.
Santa Fe RR
18 August 2004
Good grief but you'd think I wouldn't have such a difficult time posting ready-made desktops for download. But hey, it's the summertime, and I'm easily distracted. So it goes. This is the penultimate 1940s color photo desktop, and is the second one to feature images from a railroad's roundhouse. I'm not sure what the attraction is, but roundhouses have an interesting feel to them, industrial and old-fashioned at the same time. As before, links to information about the photographs can be found a little bit down the page. I'm feeling too lazy to bother posting them again. Enjoy!
Hoskins Mound, Texas
20 July 2004
Oops. A little late, but here's the next desktop from the series of 1940s color photos. The subject is simple: sulphur mining in Texas by the Freeport Mining Co., 1943. The richness of the colors though, is stunning. I'd kill for a sky of that depth and clarity today. Sigh.
It's the strength of the yellows and blues playing against each other that makes this one so interesting to me. The image has an almost technicolor richness to it despite being from film that seems to have generally reproduced quite subdued colors—if the other pictures in the archives are any guide. The link to the blog entry, which has a link to the originals, is available in the previous entries below. Enjoy!
10 July 2004
Here's the next photograph in the series, a snapshot of trains awaiting service in a Chicago roundhouse, circa 1942. It's one of two photos with the subject of trains that I've converted to desktops. I'm not sure why I find the infrastructure of trains so interesting. They just scream out "Industrial Revolution" though, which is an historical subject endlessly fascinating to me.
At any rate, as noted previously, this is offered without any copyright claim due to their provenance—Library of Congress releases; hope you enjoy it. There are still four more to be released. At least one more set will be showing up tomorrow, with the rest being posted over the next week or two.
Original blog entry concerning the subject, with a link to the web site, here.
6 July 2004
The second desktop photograph of the series to be released is of farmland in the Catskills mountains of New York state. I'm not sure why such a simple scene—one photograph from 1600—grabbed my attention so strongly. Perhaps it's the clarity of the blue sky in the picture. The colors in these photos are remarkably true, lacking the technicolor richness of the (rare) color films of the era. The one thing that stands out in all these photographs is the lack of pollution. Almost all of the photographs from outdoors lack the ever-present brown haze we've all grown so used to that we don't even realize it. It kind of hurts to see what we've lost.
For the record, I claim no copyright whatsoever on these photographs. They are offered sans-copyright by the Library of Congress—all I've done is clean them up a bit.
Detailed blog entry here.
During the years leading up to World War II, tens of thousands of photographs were taken by government photographers of depression-era America. Some were even in color. I recently stumbled across a link to a Library of Congress web site that has gathered together the color photographs. Many are mundane, but some are simply stunning. I lost many hours to wandering through the collection, downloading the most interesting of the uncompressed scans (we're talking downloads as large as 160MB!), and cleaning them up in Photoshop.
Here's the first of the results. It isn't the most stunning of the photographs, but is the most historically relevant at the moment, as it is a shot of the Allies proceeding down the Champs-Elysées in newly liberated Paris, France. Since the 60th anniversary of D-Day just recently passed, I figured I would release it first. Four or five more may follow shortly. I have resisted manipulating them beyond a slight color correction and a judicious use of Photoshop's healing brush to remove the hairs, scratches, and dirt that were visible in the scans.
Each photograph is tagged with a short description taken from the original. Those of you with an interest in history ought to appreciate these, and those of you with wide screen monitors such as the 17" iMac and 20" Cinema Display are in for a real treat. :-)
If you have a greater interest in the subject, my original blog entry concerning these photographs and the historical/cultural significance, can be found here.
Hope you enjoy them.