Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Gift: Two Worthy Websites That Plumb the Heights (and Depths) of Photo History

Well, I slept through the eclipse last night, wouldn't you know? Even though I promised to watch it. And I gave the wrong time for it in my post yesterday. So, I've got to make it up to everyone with a holiday gift. I thought I'd share a couple of pretty neat photo website I've discrovered recently.

The first is called Vintage Nerds, and it is nothing but wonderful pinup photos from the past. In other words, naughty stuff for hipsters. (The site itself uses another word instead of "naughty stuff," but "naughty stuff" is far, far more tasteful if less precise.) When I say the site is nothing but pinups, I mean it--no text, no value-added historical insights...just photographs. Sometimes the names of the models are included (Bettie Page, of course). But the range of imagery is remarkable, and the pictures themselves are often charming examples of old-fashioned barbershop reading. For hipsters who take pictures like this, the site is certainly worth checking out.

      I also recently ran across a site called Iconic Photos, which, as you might expect, features pictures that stunned the world, in one way or another. What I like about the site is the weird range of imagery—everything from Paul Strand's "Wall Street" (above) to Annie Leibovitz's portrait of Queen Elizabeth to Patrick Robert's photo of the body of deposed Liberian ruler Samuel Doe. Be careful if you're skittish--some of pictures, like Robert's view of the naked corpse of Doe and images of the body of 14-year-old Emmett Till—are gruesome. But the texts accompanying the images are very sharp, adding historical perspective and while explaining the significance of each picture. The site is a very good source for finding controversial imagery that made an impact.

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