Amazing Pictures From the Past

Posted: Monday, June 2, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Ah, yes..another rainy Monday.  Looks like golf is out again. I knew I should have mowed the yard yesterday. Dang!
It’s on days like this that I get lost on the internet. It’s called surfing, I guess, but it’s more like one thing leading to another. I’ll see something about Harmon Killebrew and google his name to find out what he’s up to these days. That leads me to the Minnesota Twins history section and that leads me to the Washington Senators and that leads me to the history of baseball and that leads me to the myth about Abner Doubleday founding the game. And that leads me to Doubeday’s biography and that leads me to the Civil War etc, etc, etc. 
I really do enjoy these time consuming escapes..especially when there are old photographs involved which is how I discovered, Shorpy.com.
Every day, the creator of Shorpy, a guy known only as “Dave” posts several photographs ranging from the 1800’s to the 1940’s   The site is named after  Shorpy Higginbotham..a boy who worked in an Alabama coal mine near the turn of the century and was the subject of a photo essay on child labor in those days.
Dave is a genius when it comes to using computer technology to enhance these old images and when you view them full size,  details that no one knew were there suddenly appear.  I don’t know a pixel from a popsicle but these pictures..mostly of ordinary people and places..are amazing.  To see for yourself, click here.
There are thousands of images on the site, here are a few of my favorites so far. (For greater detail you can enlarge them on your computer by clicking on that little spyglass with the blue plus sign on the lower right of your screen. But to really appreciate the full size photo you’ll have to visit his website . )  Let me know what you think.This is a Lewis Hine photo of a New York tenement in 1911 showing a mother and children picking nuts. Again, for close-up detail check out Shorpy.comThis is a Walker Evans photo of the interior of a general store in Moundville, Alabama in 1936. The close-up reveals items from bullets to bags of flour.A Russell Lee image from 1938 of a barn dance in Crowley, LouisianaAn example of the crushing poverty in this Walker Evans picture of an Alabama sharecropper family in the mid 1930′sLittle Italy in New York 1908 by George Bain.Shorpy.com lets you look up pictures by photographers or subject. But be prepared to get lost in these images..there are hundreds of them. Don’t forget to click on "full view"It’s a blog so you can also make comments and Dave will often respond. Now, I’m going there to see what new old pictures he’s posted today.

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