i have featured images by photographer Gordon Parks many times on the blog, but have never done a post dedicated solely to his work. which is weird, considering he’s such a legend. he was the first African-American writer and staff photographer at Life, the first African-American photographer published in Vogue, and the first African-American to direct a major Hollywood film. in 1956, during his time at LIFE, he went to Alabama to shoot what would become one of the most important and influential photo essays of his career: Segregation Story.
this set of photos of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti at their villa in Rome, taken in 1964 by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was one of the first stories i discovered in the Life Magazine archives way back when they first launched their digital collection in 2009. for some reason i never posted about it, and it has been sitting in a weird folder on one of my hard drives until i rediscovered recently.
Gisèle Freund was a renowned photographer & photo journalist who fled Nazi Germany and settled in Paris in 1933. she studied at the Sorbonne, worked around the world for Time and Life magazines and took the first colour portraits of numerous writers and artists including Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, Matisse, Man Ray and many others – all of which you can see here.
you can probably tell by my extensive vintage archives that i love looking at old photos. if i visit someone’s home, even if they’re a complete stranger, and i find an old photo album lying around i can’t resist but page through it. i think it’s so sad that we can’t really do that now. i mean, i’m not going to go scroll through your Facebook albums – that’s just weird, and creepy. right?
not to be confused with National Geographic’s own tumblr, Vintage National Geographic instead features scanned in pages from vintage copies of National Geographic going back to the 1800’s. you’ll recognise that familiar halftone printing look that jumps off these old clippings, and it’s almost like you can smell the pile of old magazines that you used to page through at grandma’s house.
i bet the people who took photos decades ago never thought their every day snaps would wind up on some “blog” being pored over by random strangers from the future. i wonder if our own photographs are heading in the same direction? our lives are so well documented now that at least no one will ever wonder who we were. but i do wonder what the stories behind the photographs on Global Pillage are, a blog compiled by Pete Mauney with an impressive collection of imagery by mostly unknown authors.
combining two of my favourite things: vintage photos and Instagram, The Family Acid shares 40 years of film photography shot by Roger Steffens, and curated by his daughter Kate. love his double exposures, and often hilarious snaps like this one, “The day mom and her friends did acid and went to Disneyland. They never made it in past the parking lot. Anaheim, CA, 1976.”
Sounds of Two Eyes Opening is a collection of photographs taken between 1962-82 by Spot, a musician, producer and sound engineer who documented southern California beach life, skating culture and the burgeoning punk scene. he was a fan of LIFE magazine as a kid, and started taking photos while writing for Easy Reader, a newspaper in the Hermosa Beach area. you can read an interview with him about the book here.
i found these images while trawling around the LIFE archives, with no explanation as to who took them, when, or where. i’m guessing this was sometime in the twenties or thirties? and it looks like it might have been somewhere in Europe – originally i thought maybe they were Swedes, but that old school Nivea Creme tin made me wonder if they were German. well, looks like they had a pretty good time either way.