Photographs of Citizens of London in 1877

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Life was often difficult for our ancestors, as shown in pictures of Dickensian poverty on the streets of London. The images show the grim reality of life in Victorian London.

The photographs of working class people, captured by photojournalist John Thomson in 1877, show the backbreaking daily grind which was a reality for the capital’s citizens. You can read more and view the pictures at

Your Picture in an Automobile

Sometimes we take certain things for granted. We often don’t stop to realize what life was like for our ancestors. We may have skills that our ancestor did not possess. Today I stumbled across some old photographs that made me stop and think.

In 1905 the automobile was a novelty. Very few people had ever driven one, much less owned one. After looking at a couple of photographs, I realized that most people did not know how to drive in those days.

Today most adults are familiar with driving automobiles. However, 100 or more years ago, that was not true. In fact, the idea of someone driving an automobile was so unique that commercial photographers of the time often took advantage of the automobile to sell more photographs.

Library of Congress Offers a New Collection of Depression Era Photographs

The Library of Congress has a great collection of photographs from the Great Depression that has recently been updated. The collection now contains more than 175,000 portraits of America between the years 1935 and 1945, taken by photographers of the government’s Farm Security Administration. The photographs also include all known data about the subject(s) in each photo, including the date and location of the photograph and also the name of the photographer.

Click on the images to view larger versions.

Thanks to a new project known as Photogrammar from Yale University, viewers will have a much easier time exploring the photographs. There’s a map that displays the images by county and another that shows where each picture was taken and by which photographer. There’s also an interactive that allows viewers to sort the photos by theme (e.g. “war” or “religion”) and then browse from there. Other tools are still in the works.

Archive of pre-Holocaust Jewish Images in Eastern Europe Digitized

A vast archive of photographs of pre-Holocaust Eastern European Jewish life is being made available to the public and researchers. The International Center of Photography in New York and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., announced the joint creation of a digital database to facilitate access to photographer Roman Vishniac’s archive.

Vishniac was a Russian-born Jew who moved to Berlin in 1920. He documented the rise of Nazi power and its effect on Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe. The International Center of Photography said it believes the project “represents a new model for digital archives” and it’s excited to bring Vishniac’s collection to a wider audience.

Use Crowdsourcing to Identify the People in Photographs

Jeff Phillips discovered a big pile of funky-smelling Eastman Kodak boxes containing dozens of projection trays filled with Kodachrome slides at a consignment antique shop near St. Louis. The 30 boxes contained about 1,100 slides. Only two of the slides were labeled. One said “Edna” and another was labeled as “Harry, 1958.” Those are clues but do not provide much to go on. Jeff decided to identify the people in the slides. Jeff then embarked on a crowdsourced search to identify the people in the photos by using social media. He received hundreds of suggestions from Facebook users.

Make Your own Pinhole Camera

Take a step back in time! You might want to help your grandchildren build this so that you can explain “this is how we used to do it in the good old days!” Then again, maybe not. They may think you are older than you really are. Well, it will also teach them about physics.

A pinhole camera is a simple camera that uses a single small aperture – a pinhole – instead of a lens. As light passes through this hole, an image is exposed onto the film loaded inside the camera. Exposure times are typically longer than with a normal lensed camera, due to the aperture being so much smaller. This means that pinhole cameras can typically take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of hours to expose a photograph. Because of these long exposures the shutter is usually manually operated. Pinhole cameras were very popular back when photography first became popular for in-home use.

Is This the Best Wedding Photograph Ever?

A couple scheduled their outdoor wedding months in advance but a raging fire almost disrupted the plans. The couple decided to go ahead anyway, despite the fire. The photographer obviously has a good eye for dramatic scenes. This has to be one of the best non-Photoshopped pictures ever:

Historical Photos Available Online from the Field Museum of Natural History

Chicago’s Field Museum holds more than 24 million specimens and draws millions of visitors each year. The museum also has tens of thousand of photographs and many of them are now available online.


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