Archive for the ‘Vintage photography’ Category

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535_Julia Margaret Cameron_06Julia Margaret Cameron (née Pattle; 11 June 1815 – 26 January 1879) was a British photographer. She became known for her portraits of celebrities of the time, and for photographs with Arthurian and other legendary or heroic themes.

Cameron’s photographic career was short, spanning eleven years of her life (1864–1875). She took up photography at the relatively late age of 48, when she was given a camera as a present. Although her style was not widely appreciated in her own day, her work has had an impact on modern photographers, especially her closely cropped portraits. Her house, Dimbola Lodge, on the Isle of Wight is open to the public.

535_Julia Margaret Cameron_02In 1863, when Cameron was 48 years old, her daughter gave her a camera as a present, thereby starting her career as a photographer. Within a year, Cameron became a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland. In her photography, Cameron strove to capture beauty. She wrote, "I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied."The basic techniques of soft-focus "fancy portraits", which she later developed, were taught to her by David Wilkie Wynfield. She later wrote that "to my feeling about his beautiful photography I owed all my attempts and indeed consequently all my success".

535_Julia Margaret Cameron_07At the time, photography was a labour-intensive art that also was highly dependent upon crucial timing. Sometimes Cameron was obsessive about her new occupation, with subjects sitting for countless exposures in the blinding light as she laboriously coated, exposed, and processed each wet plate. The results were, in fact, unconventional in their intimacy and their particular visual habit of created blur through both long exposures, where the subject moved and by leaving the lens intentionally out of focus. Other photographers strove for vastly different applications. This led some of her contemporaries to complain and even ridicule the work, but her friends and family were supportive, and she was one of the most prolific and advanced of amateurs in her time. Her enthusiasm for her craft meant that her children and others sometimes tired of her endless photographing, but it also left us with some of the best of records of her children and of the many notable figures of the time who visited her.

535_Julia Margaret Cameron_05During her career, Cameron registered each of her photographs with the copyright office and kept detailed records. Her shrewd business sense is one reason that so many of her works survive today. Another reason that many of Cameron’s portraits are significant is because they are often the only existing photograph of historical figures, becoming an invaluable resource. Many paintings and drawings exist, but, at the time, photography was still a new and challenging medium for someone outside a typical portrait studio.

The bulk of Cameron’s photographs fit into two categories—closely framed portraits and illustrative allegories based on religious and literary works. In the allegorical works in particular, her artistic influence was clearly Pre-Raphaelite, with far-away looks, limp poses, and soft lighting.

"Wist ye not that your father and I sought thee sorrowing?"

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The bathing machine was a device, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, to allow people to change out of their usual clothes, possibly change into swimwear and then wade in the ocean at beaches. Bathing machines were roofed and walled wooden carts rolled into the sea. Some had solid wooden walls; others had canvas walls over a wooden frame.
The bathing machine was part of etiquette for sea-bathing more rigorously enforced upon women than men but to be observed by both sexes among those who wished to be proper.
Especially in Britain, men and women were usually segregated, so nobody of the opposite sex might catch sight of them in their bathing suits, which (although modest by modern standards) were not considered proper clothing in which to be seen.


Text from Wikipedia 

Machines might not be exactly what these contraptions of modesty were. But shit, it would have been dig to have one to day. Imagine rolling that thing down on the beach to day, enter it and have it rolled out into the sea so you could indulge in a little seawater bathing in peace and tranquillity – Ted


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Another favorite French magazine of the 1920s and 1930s is the, mostly unknown, Paris Plaisirs. It is comparable to the legendary, large format art deco era, La Vie Parisienne in style and size, while focusing on the stars of the music-hall. Paris Plaisirs also differed in another major aspect: it used photographs as well as illustrations in each issue. Many covers featured the creativity of Austrian photographer Manasse.


Part of the attraction of Paris Plaisirs, besides the obvious, is the amazing (unintentional) lines created by the French in the way they used images of women as the seductress. The representations ranged from hard boiled, tough girl, Kiki de Montparnasse (above) to passive posing (cover below) to all out femmes fatale as seen in most of the remaining covers in this post. Later, in the early 1930s, Paris Plaisirs and many other European pop-culture magazines recognized the attraction of Hollywood celebrity. In the last two covers, this "magazine tres Parisian", puts two major American movie stars on covers: first Ginger Rogers and on the final cover in this post, Jean Harlow.


Note that all the photographs used in Paris Plaisirs were made in black and white as the first true color film was not available until 1937. The creative solution was quite ingenious and used to lesser and greater success by many publishers. A "color separator" working with a "colorist" would create areas of color in solids, shades and tones similar to the method used to color the artwork for comic books. Other than the techniques needed to make this process convincing was the necessity to let the photo "come through" the colorization and not creating an illustration.


Interior pages of photos and illustrations and front covers follow without captions and in no particular order. Click on each image and a larger version of the scan will open in the same window.


Text from vasta-images-books

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163_calomaIn 1976, this image appeared on the cover for the book, I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus collected and edited by Glenn G. Boyer. The supposed scantily-clad woman was of Josephine in her 20s, and based on the popularity of the book, copies of the image were later sold at auction for up to $2,875. In 1994, Western researchers identified discrepancies in the book and began to challenge the authenticity of the manuscript. It was discovered that the risqué cover image was linked to a photogravure titled Kaloma and first published by a novelty company in 1914. It was originally produced as an art print. Kaloma’s popularity continued as she became a pinup during WWI, and appeared after the war on post cards. After discrete airbrushing darkened her peignoir, Kaloma appeared in other popular advertising. There is still a great debate, whether it’s Josephine Earp or not. All I know is, she’s hot, shrouded in mystery and it’s good ol’ American history.

Text & image found at:

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159_ostra_studios_001Ostra Studio was a photography studio in Paris that was well-known in the 1930s for producing high-quality erotic pictures of nudes and fetishistic scenes of bondage, whipping, and spanking. The studio was an offshoot of the equally famous Biederer Studio founded by Jacques & Charles Biederer  in 1908.

The Biederer Studio had already gained a reputation for making elegant and risque images of female nudes and erotic corporal punishment — including elaborate depictions of F/Fdomination, Maledom, scenes of male-submissive Femdom, and even pony play. The Ostra division, formed in the late ’30s, was an attempt to create a separate publishing house for "Editions Ostra" — albums of photo-sets based on erotic themes.

Unlike the studio-bound Biederer line, many of the Ostra pictures were done outdoors. These include romantic, mildly suggestive images of couples enjoying nature, nudes in classical poses, humorous, voyeuristic displays of partial nudity, and scenes of playful spanking. Sometimes several photos were taken in a series in order to tell a simple story.


In the studio, Ostra produced many sleek, sophisticated photos depicting domestic discipline as well as dominatrix-and-slave BDSM scenarios. One remarkable series of doggie training images may well be the first of their kind. Studio Ostra also did commercial photographic work for La Lingerie Moderne, Yva Richard’s mail-order catalog of lingerie and bondage accessories, as well as photo illustrations for erotic books.


In 1940 France was invaded by Nazi Germany. During the German occupation which lasted until 1944.   Biederer/Ostra Studios, and other purveyors of erotica faded away. As the Biederer brothers were of Jewish descent, they were seized by the Nazis and deported to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where they perished.

More of Ostra Studio’s erotic photos HERE

Text  from VintageFineNudes and images from Vintage Spankings

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119_brassai_001Brassaï (pseudonym of Gyula Halász) (9 September 1899 — 8 July 1984) was a Hungarian photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker who rose to international fame in France in the 20th century. He was one of the numerous Hungarian artists who flourished in Paris beginning between the World Wars. In the early 21st century, the discovery of more than 200 letters and hundreds of drawings and other items from the period 1940–1984 has provided scholars with material for understanding his later life and career.

Early life and education
Gyula (Julius) Halász (the Western order of his name) was born in Brassó, Transsylvania, Kingdom of Hungary (since 1920 Brașov, Romania), to an Armenian mother and a Hungarian father. He grew up speaking Hungarian. When he was three, his family lived in Paris for a year, while his father, a professor of French literature, taught at the Sorbonne.

As a young man, Gyula Halász studied painting and sculpture at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts (Magyar Képzomuvészeti Egyetem) in Budapest. He joined a cavalry regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army, where he served until the end of the First World War.


In 1920, Halász went to Berlin, where he worked as a journalist for the Hungarian papers Keleti and Napkelet. He started studies at the Berlin-Charlottenburg Academy of Fine Arts (Hochschule für Bildende Künste), now Universität der Künste Berlin. There he became friends with several older Hungarian artists and writers, including the painters Lajos Tihanyi and Bertalan Pór, and the writer György Bölöni, each of whom later moved to Paris and became part of the Hungarian circle.


In 1924, Halasz moved to Paris to live, where he would stay for the rest of his life. To learn the French language, he began teaching himself by reading the works of Marcel Proust. Living among the gathering of young artists in the Montparnasse quarter, he took a job as a journalist. He soon became friends with the American writer Henry Miller, and the French writers Léon-Paul Fargue and Jacques Prévert. In the late 1920s, he lived in the same hotel as Tihanyi.

Miller later played down Brassai’s claims of friendship. In 1976 he wrote of Brassai: "Fred [Perles] and I used to steer shy of him – he bored us." Miller added that the biography Brassai had written of him was typically "padded", "full of factual errors, full of suppositions, rumors, documents he filched which are largely false or give a false impression."


Halász’s job and his love of the city, whose streets he often wandered late at night, led to photography. He first used it to supplement some of his articles for more money, but rapidly explored the city through this medium, in which he was tutored by his fellow Hungarian André Kertész. He later wrote that he used photography "in order to capture the beauty of streets and gardens in the rain and fog, and to capture Paris by night." Using the name of his birthplace, Gyula Halász went by the pseudonym "Brassaï," which means "from Brasso."

Brassaï captured the essence of the city in his photographs, published as his first collection in 1933 book entitled Paris de nuit (Paris by Night). His book gained great success, resulting in being called "the eye of Paris" in an essay by his friend Henry Miller. In addition to photos of the seedier side of Paris, Brassai portrayed scenes from the life of the city’s high society, its intellectuals, its ballet, and the grand operas. He had been befriended by a French family who gave him access to the upper classes. Brassai photographed many of his artist friends, including Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, and several of the prominent writers of his time, such as Jean Genet and Henri Michaux.


Young Hungarian artists continued to arrive in Paris through the 1930s and the Hungarian circle absorbed most of them. Kertèsz emigrated to New York in 1936. Brassai befriended many of the new arrivals, including Ervin Marton, a nephew of Tihanyi, whom he had been friends with since 1920. Marton developed his own reputation in street photography in the 1940s and 1950s. Brassaï continued to earn a living with commercial work, also taking photographs for the United States magazine Harper’s Bazaar. He was a founding member of the Rapho agency, created in Paris by Charles Rado in 1933.

Brassaï’s photographs brought him international fame. In 1948, he had a one-man show in the United States at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City, which traveled to the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. MOMA exhibited more of Brassai’s works in 1953, 1956, and 1968. He was presented at the Rencontres d’Arles festival (France) in 1970 (screening at the Théâtre Antique, "Brassaï" by Jean-Marie Drot), in 1972 (screening "Brassaï si, Vominino" by René Burri), and in 1974 (as guest of honour).

Text from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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From “Victorian Inventions” by Leonard De Vries published by American Heritage Press in 1972


In the search for small, easily portable photographic apparatus various devices have been invented. A typical example is the recently Invented photographic hat which permits the wearer to take photographs without being noticed. That this is indeed possible appears from a notice received from Mr O. Campo of Brussels: ‘When staying in a seaside resort in August 1886,’ says Mr Campo, ‘I received a letter one day and, upon opening it, found to my amazement that it contained three photographs in which I had no difficulty in recognising myself. But what photographs they were! Certainly not such as might be calculated to tickle my vanity. In the first photograph, I was shown at the very moment of entering the water, and my face reflected all too clearly the sensation of the first contact with the cold sea-water. Really, one would not approach a lady with such gestures on the shore. The second picture had been taken while I was blowing out a mouthful of water which I had involuntarily gulped in, while my facial expression made it obvious that my taste buds had been stimulated in a far from pleasant way. In the third picture, I resembled a bedraggled poodle rather than a civilized man. I emerged from the sea, dripping wet. ‘It cannot be denied that the three exposures were a true reflection of what had happened two days before. On investigation, I found that a good friend had availed himself of the opportunity of making several photographs of me while I was bathing, and had done so with the aid of a photographic hat.’

“Permits the wearer to take photographs without being noticed” my ass. I’m not among the most observant of individuals, but I’m quite sure I’d notice a bloke with his overcoat pulled over his head with only the top of his hat sticking out at the front – Ted

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067_Alfred Cheney Johnston

Alfred Cheney Johnston is taking the picture of her, but who’s picture is she taking. I guess we’ll never know, but honestly, do we care. We’re just thankful Alfred took this one  – Ted

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Ruth Belville sold time. Each day she would set her watch by the Greenwich clock in London and then charge a fee for the privilege of looking at her watch.

Belville’s father had established the business in 1836, when such knowledge was valuable — as railways revolutionized European travel, individual towns had to abandon their non-uniform local times, reckoned by the sun, and adopt instead the standard London time that dominated rail schedules.


For a confusing few years the nation underwent a sort of fugue, with public clocks displaying both London and local time; a few great clocks were even fitted with two minute hands. (In Dombey and Son Dickens notes these changes mournfully, “as if the sun itself had given in.”)

But by 1880 the British government had finally established a single standard time for the nation, and when Ruth Belville began selling time in 1892 she was already an anachronism. Remarkably, she continued until 1940, after the advent of World War II — by which time most of her clients were clockmakers.

Text from “Futility Closet

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Presented in 1935 by Franz Kochmann Fabrik (Dresden, Germany), this 6 x 6 cm roll film camera paved the way for many medium-format SLR designs. Here’s a Korelle I from the first batch.

Text and image from “Dieselpunk

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

11351_mutoThe Mutoscope was an early motion picture device, patented by Herman Casler on November 21, 1894. Like Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope it did not project on a screen, and provided viewing to only one person at a time. Cheaper and simpler than the Kinetoscope, the system—marketed by the American Mutoscope Company (later the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company)—quickly dominated the coin-in-the-slot "peep-show" business.

The Mutoscope worked on the same principle as the "flip book." The individual image frames were conventional black-and-white, silver-based photographic prints on tough, flexible opaque cards. Rather than being bound into a booklet, the cards were attached to a circular core, rather like a huge Rolodex. A reel typically held about 850 cards, giving a viewing time of about a minute. The reel with cards attached had a total diameter of about ten inches (25 cm); the individual cards had dimensions of about 2-3/4" x 1-7/8" (7 cm x 4.75 cm).

Mutoscopes were coin-operated. The patron viewed the cards through a single lens enclosed by a hood, similar to the viewing hood of a stereoscope. The cards were generally lit electrically, but the reel was driven by means of a geared-down hand crank. Each machine held only a single reel and was dedicated to the presentation of a single short subject, described by a poster affixed to the machine.

11351_muto2The patron could control the presentation speed only to a limited degree. The crank could be turned in both directions, but this did not reverse the playing of the reel. Nor could the patron extend viewing time by stopping the crank because the flexible images were bent into the proper viewing position by tension applied from forward cranking. Stopping the crank reduced the forward tension on the reels causing the reel to go backwards and the picture to move from the viewing position; a spring in the mechanism turned off the light and in some models brought down a shutter which completely blocked out the picture.

Mutoscopes were originally manufactured from 1895 to 1909 by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, or its licensee Marvin & Casler Co., formed by two of American Mutoscope’s founders. In the 1920s the Mutoscope was licensed to William Rabkin who started his own company, the International Mutoscope Reel Company, which manufactured new reels and also machines from 1926 until 1949. The term "Mutoscope" is no longer a registered trademark in the United States.

Mutoscopes were a popular feature of amusement arcades and pleasure piers in the UK until the introduction of decimal coinage in 1971 made the mechanisms obsolete, and most were subsequently either destroyed or exported to Denmark where pornography was recently legalised. The typical arcade installation included multiple machines offering a mixture of fare. Both in the early days and during the revival, that mixture usually included "girlie" reels which ran the gamut from risqué to outright soft-core pornography. It was, however, common for these reels to have suggestive titles that implied more than the reel actually delivered. The title of one such reel, What the Butler Saw, became a by-word, and Mutoscopes are commonly known in the UK as "What-the-Butler-Saw machines." (What the butler saw, presumably through a keyhole, was a woman partially disrobing.)

What the Butler Saw was a mutoscope reel, and an early example of softcore pornographic films. It depicted a scene of a woman partially undressing, as if "the butler" was watching her through a keyhole.

11351_muto4Public response
In 1899, The Times printed a letter inveighing against "vicious demoralising picture shows in the penny-in-the-slot machines. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the corruption of the young that comes from exhibiting under a strong light, nude female figures represented as living and moving, going into and out of baths, sitting as artists’ models etc. Similar exhibitions took place at Rhyl in the men’s lavatory, but, owing to public denunciation, they have been stopped."

A collector’s site describes the contents of one such reel, "Birth of the Pearl" which "pictures a nude woman rising from a seashell and standing." The site notes "this reel has some damage to a whole chunk of photos. They are all in a section where there was full frontal nudity and the cards are quite worn off.

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The ladies in this post on Venus Observations originate from Tahiti and their pictures were taken by a French photographer, Lucien Gauthier in the early years of the twentieth century.

Tahiti became a French protectorate in 1842 and the French government had a small garrison there. The first photographers in Tahiti were, therefore, French naval personnel.  A number of French officers took photographs which were sent to Paris for reproduction in magazines such as Tout du Monde and L’Illustration to pander to the thirst for views of these exotic islands.

By the 1860s there were regular visits by ships to Tahiti and it became possible for photographers to establish on the island.  These photographers would take pictures of views of the island and the exotic inhabitants to be sold in albums.

You can find the rest of the Tahitian beauties and more text explaining how the pictures were taken here >   Venus-observations

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While a surprising number of women did learn to at least paddle around in lakes, quiet rivers and pools, most I suspect were more than content to splash around in shallower water as serious swimming would be challenging in bathing dresses designed for modesty first and foremost.

I read with interest the fashion note about heavy silk swim dresses. While I have no doubt they were available for the more fashion conscious, well-do-to women, based on surviving examples, sturdy cotton seems to have been the most common fabric used for these dresses until the increasing popularity by the 1920s among young women of the more practical (and revealing) wool knit bathing suits. Some daring young women were wearing mid thigh versions of these form-fitting suits as early as "aughts," but they were rare because of their shock value at the time.
Text & image from Shorpy

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Olga Solarics (1896-1969) and her husband Adorja’n von Wlassics (1893-1946) ran the Manasse’ Foto-Salon in Vienna from 1922-1938. Olga seems to have been the one interested in the photographic nude. She (or they) exhibited at the 1st International Salon of Nude Photography in Paris in 1933…”

11168_menasse Studio Manasse, which flourished in the 1930s in Vienna, captured more than just portrait photography bursting with erotic charge; it immortalized the fluid state of beauty and the “new woman”: confident in her own sexuality as she struggled to redefine her position in the modern world. Each picture offers a conflict of concepts, as provocative poses are presented in such traditional roles that the cynicism intended renders them humorously absurd . Adorjan and Olga Wlassics, a husband-and-wife team, founded Studio Manasse in the early 1920s. The first Manasse illustrations appeared in magazines in 1924, a booming industry at the time, as the movie industry skyrocketed and publications aimed to satisfy a public obsessed with glimpses into the world of 11168_menasse4glamour. Attracting some of the leading ladies of the time from film, theatre, opera, and vaudeville,Studio Manasse created masterpieces, employing all the techniques of makeup, retouching, and over painting to keep their subjects happy while upholding an uncompromised artistic vision.Molded bodies were dreams with alabaster or marble-like skin; backgrounds were staged so that the photographer could control each environment. And as their art found a home, the Wlassics found themselves able to afford a pattern of life similar to those reflected in their photographs. Their clients ran the gamut, from the advertising agencies to private buyers.

When the Wlassics opened a new studio in Berlin, their business in Vienna was managed more and more by associates, until 1937, when the firm’s name was sold to another photographer. Adorjan passed away just ten years later; Olga remarried and died in 1969.

Images and text found at:Studio-Menasse

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Description: "Photograph of the late C.S. Rolls and Hon. Mrs. Assheton Harbord in basket of balloon", by Horace Hall.

Charles Stewart Rolls became interested in flying after he had already founded Rolls-Royce in 1904. Though the badge is indistinct this balloon may be his ‘Midget’. In 1910 Rolls was killed in an aeroplane accident.

Mrs. Assheton Harbord owned her own balloon (Nebia) and was a dedicated aeronaut, crossing the Channel a number of times.

Date: c.1910

Image from the collections of The National Archives UK on Flickr.

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“The Cabaret of Nothingness – Intoxication Room”. Vintage photographic postcard, c.1920, uncirculated, photograph by Eugène Atget, published by A. Plantier, Paris, France.

  Image found at:Love-Like-Cancer

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Ca. 1866, Mr. and Miss Constable photographed by Oscar Gustav Rejlander.

Behind his London house Rejlander built an unusual studio with five oddly shaped, judiciously placed windows that gave him virtual command of his illumination. Like a film director Rejlander posed his sitters informally and obliquely in the filtered light, sparing them the glare and self-conscious interrogation of direct camera confrontation.

  Image and text found at:Historic-indulgences

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Sultan’s harem Constantinople, Turkey.
From “Shepp’s photographs of the world” on The Project Gutenberg.

This photograph represents an odalisque, one of the beautiful inmates of the harem of the Sultan of Turkey. The photographer who took this picture found her most courteous and obliging, and able to converse fluently in English, French and German. Abdul Mezed, who ruled Turkey during the Crimean War, had 1200 wives and odalisques in his harem. When a Turkish Sultan wishes to show especial honour to a subject, he makes him a present of one of the cast-off wives. To refuse the gift would be to invite death. The harem is continually recruited by the gifts of those who wish to carry favour with the Sultan, and these comprise slaves of every nationality.

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Portsmouth harbour, England

On OldPictures they have a fabulous collection of old handcoloured photos from all over Europe. Page after page of vintage enjoyment.

  Go to Oldpictures for more:Old-pictures

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