The photographic time machine shorpy.com


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When I studied history as a little boy, no text, irrespective of how eloquently it was written, could captivate me more than a good picture in order to convey the happenings before my time. I have always preferred photos over texts, because in contrast to illustrations, pictures appeared to be real. I had a similar feeling when I discovered shorpy.com – the time machine amongst photography-pages.

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© Andreas Feininger, shorpy.com (1942)

I like the old large-format Kodachrome portraits. These pictures impress with breathtaking plasticity and appear like windows to previous epochs with their harmonious transitions between sharp motif and blurred background. Not rarely do I catch myself thinking about stretching out my hand to touch the person in the photo, only to make sure that it is not real but captured in the picture.

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© Jack Delano, shorpy.com (1942)

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© Alfred Palmer, shorpy.com (1942)

Even among the thousands upon thousands of black and white shots, one or two gems are hidden. When I saw the following picture with the oxcart, I offhandedly had to smirk.

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Detroit Publishing Company, shorpy.com (1900)

It will take a long time before I have watched all the photos in peace. 🙂

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