Thursday, February 4, 2010

Life Photo Archive – Really, Austria?

“Sailors aboard an Austrian warship wearing protective suits and gas masks during World War I.”

I’ve been spending a goodly amount of time in the Life Photo Archive, doing some research for some upcoming projects. It’s really more of an Image archive. Check out the amazing 18th century etchings, etc. Just search 1810s, 1830s and so on.

It’s pretty amazing, but sometimes I feel like history is just totally messing with me.

Edit: I can’t leave this one alone, I keep coming back to it. Beth and I have chatted about it a bit – at first glance she thought it was a photo, but at first glance I thought it was an illustration. There is shadow value and the detail on the hands looks photographic, plus the overexposed sky seems to interact with the objects in front of it as if a photograph. However, some of the “strokes(?)” on the clothing seem way too deliberate. It’s very hard to tell. It is credited on LIFE as a photograph (July 1, 1916, Mansell) but I saw a few illustrations in there credited similarly. My guess is that it’s either a heavily retouched or illustratively printed photograph or an illustration done from a photograph (based on the photo-like light). Of course, I’m not an expert on works of the era. Either way it’s a damn weird shot and if I saw it anywhere else on the internet except in the LIFE archive, I’d just be like nahhh man.

posted by Ian Aleksander Adams at 6:35 pm