Mister Crew

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Category: Culture (page 5 of 27)

Dryden’s Test Pilots

Based out of Edwards AFB, the Dryden Flight Test Center has been the home of some of the world’s top aircraft since the 1940’s. Along with the history of the planes hosted there, NASA has a great collection of pictures capturing the personalities of the test pilots who flew them.

More reading: Wikipedia, Great Images in NASA

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Spending too much time in photo archives, I would often come across prints that looked like duplicates, like this famous picture of Mark Twain or this one of Roosevelt in Yellowstone. I did not think much of them, assuming that was just an industry standard that photographers used back then for copies – I learned recently however that these were special prints called stereographs, and when viewed with proper glasses would produce a crude 3D effect (it is essentially the same concept behind the View-Master, a toy that many of us probably had when we were kids).

The Library of Congress maintains large collections of stereographs, including many from the early 20th century when it was a big industry for photographers. Some favorites:

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Manzanar Photographed by Ansel Adams

Two articles over the past month introduced me to a collection of photographs that Ansel Adams donated to the Library of Congress documenting life at Manzanar, one of the internment camps used by the U.S. government during WW2 to imprison Japanese Americans. The first was in the Seattle Times highlighting an exhibit by the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum:

“Ansel Adams: A Portrait of Manzanar,” composed mostly of black-and-white photographs taken by the legendary American photographer in late 1943, acknowledges the prejudices and fears that led the U.S. government to confine American citizens and legal immigrants of Japanese ethnicity behind barbed wire.

But its main focus is on the personal experiences of the internees Adams photographed. Adams was given two ground rules when he went to Manzanar: no shots of guard towers and no shots of barbed wire. Yet in the eyes of the people he photographed, many of them staring directly into the camera, you can fathom the twists and turns of the internment-camp experience.

The second was included in the Atlantic’s excellent 20 part photo essay on WW2 this last Sunday which featured several pictures taken by Adams (see the previous parts here).

The entire collection can be viewed on the Library of Congress website along with some background notes by staff.


Belltown’s Popsicle

If you find yourself going north through downtown Seattle on 4th Ave, you will eventually pass by this:

The giant popsicle will make you smile every time and is one of the few nice things to see in Belltown. Some background reading on the sculpture (it showed up early this summer, and at first nobody knew who made it until recently).

belltown popsicle
Look for it at the intersection of 4th and Blanchard.

Mapping the Pacific Coast

There is a great collection of old maps available for viewing online at Mapping the Pacific Coast. The background:

The maps and illustrations in the Quivira Collection date from 1540 to 1802, a span of 260 years or so. These dates also bracket a period of history unprecedented for the general expansion of knowledge and information. The first application of the new technology of printing to maps and geographical knowledge coincides almost exactly with Columbus’s first voyage in 1492. Thus the maps in this collection span the transition from the European Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment and bear eloquent testimony to the expansion of useful knowledge.

Being close to home, the maps and explorations of the Pacific Northwest area are of particular interest to me. Some earlier prints:

Gerard Mercator, Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio, Amsterdam, 1595. The innovative and well-known cartographer and author of this map, Gerard Mercator, died in 1594, leaving his son Rumold to publish it in the last of three parts forming the famous Mercator atlas Atlantis Pars Altera. This is not only the first, but also the most influential map to be devoted to the Arctic.

Joseph-Nicolas de l’Isle, Carte Generale des Découvertes de l’Amiral de Fonte. A general map of the discoveries of Admiral de Fonte and other navigators, Spanish, English and Russian in quest of a passage to the South Sea by Mr. De l’Isle of the Royal Academy of Sciences, etc. Published at Paris in September 1752.

Related Posts: Early New England Maps, Old Maps of Antarctica

Ebbets Field Flannels

Now working out of Pioneer Square, I’ve taken an interest in exploring more of the quiet parts of the neighborhood beyond 1st Avenue and on one of the side streets just north of the stadiums I found the store for Ebbets Field Flannels – the maker of historical reproduction sports jerseys, hats, and jackets.

I stopped by last week to check it out and I was impressed by the quality of what it sells as well as the background story behind each piece (the employees are very knowledgeable, and I’m sure it helps to be a sports nerd here). Despite an unassuming storefront and a location that would be easy to miss unless you walked right by it, a small but steady stream of customers were coming in and out during my visit, including many fathers out with their sons.

Some shots from the store – a selection of its famous wool flannel baseball jerseys:

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Our National Game

Also now on exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum is a small baseball themed collection under the title of Our National Game. Pieces from Douglas Tilden, Normal Rockwell, and Jacob Lawrence are included, along with a selection of rare photography and print memorabilia. The exhibit itself is fairly small, but is worth looking at if you’ve stopped by for Beauty & Bounty (it will be located on the opposite side of level 3 in the Knight/Lawrence Gallery).

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American Art in the Age of Exploration

Now on display at the Seattle Art Museum, Beauty & Bounty is a new exhibit showing American artwork from the 19th and 20th centuries including pieces by Albert Bierstadt, John Frederick Kensett, and Sanford Robinson Gifford. Members of the Hudson River School movement, they glorified the natural landscapes of the country through a romanticist view and fed the imagination of the American public. Pictures from the likes of F. Jay Haynes and Darius Kinsey are also smartly included in the exhibit (the use of photography to capture landscape scenery was becoming mainstream around this same time period).

The exhibit will be open until mid September – stop by the SAM if you happen to be in the area to check it out, it is probably the best collection they’ll have for this year.

Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast, 1870, Albert Bierstadt. Photo by Howard Giske.

Mountain View, Sunset (detail), 1865, Albert Bierstadt.

Related posts: Photography of Darius Kinsey, American Logging Locomotives

The Quintessential Utility Vehicle

Land Rover – the maintenance headache that is loved by many. Fans have taken to flickr for sharing images of the countless variants, and some of my favorite shots are from one of Land Rover’s own groups.

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Mid-century IBM Typewriter Ads

These were featured in several issues of LIFE during the 1950’s – all of them show tasteful mid-century furniture pieces (some famous ones too) and all have a bit of a sexist slant.

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