Mother + Sun. Brooklyn, New York.
Photo Circa 1987.
A “real-time data translator” machine converted Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. Too anxious to wait for the official processed image, employees from the Telecommunications Section at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory attached these strips side by side to a display panel and hand colored the numbers like a paint-by-numbers picture. The completed image was framed and presented to JPL director, William H. Pickering. Mariner 4 was launched on November 28, 1964 and journeyed for 228 days to the Red Planet, providing the first close-range images of Mars.
Parchment often contains some kind of imperfection. Holes, for example, are a common occurrence on the page of a medieval book. That a drawing of a dragon should perfectly align with such a hole is a coincidence. (Or is it? Scribes could be very playful and might have done this deliberately!) 9th century
Bruce Lee was Hong Kong’s Cha Cha Champion in 1958
Wadi Al-Salaam: The Largest Cemetery in The World via Amusing Planet
Wadi us-Salaam, which literally means the Valley of Peace, is an Islamic cemetery located in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq. The cemetery covers an area of 1485.5 acres and contains millions of bodies, making it one of the strongest contender for the title of the largest graveyard on earth. Najaf itself is one of Iraq’s biggest cities, with a population of nearly 600,000. But the adjoining city of the dead holds the remains of millions, stretching for up to 10km along the valley. Wadi Al-Salam cemetery is also the only cemetery in the world where the process of burial is still continuing to day since more than 1,400 years.
Today marks the start of Documerica Week on In Focus — a new photo essay each day, featuring regions of the U.S. covered by the photographers of the Documerica Project in the early 1970s. The Documerica Project was put together by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1971, with a primary goal of documenting adverse effects of modern life on the environment, but photographers were also encouraged to record the daily life of ordinary people, capturing a broad snapshot of America. Today’s subject is New York City, an area covered by many photographers, showing some of the urban decay and congestion that helped prompt environmental legislation, as well as glimpses of New Yorkers at work and play. Stay tuned for part 2 of Documerica Week tomorrow, when we travel southwest.
I feel like this is the NYC my parents told me about, the one they left behind for a quieter, safer place. The one I’ve been fascinated by since I heard all of their stories.
Hazel Lee [1912-1944]
Experienced women pilots, like Lee, were eager to join the WASP, and responded to interview requests by Cochran. Members of the WASP reported to Avenger Field, in wind swept Sweetwater, Texas for an arduous 6-month training program. Lee was accepted into the 4th class, 43 W 4. Hazel Ying Lee was the first Chinese American woman to fly for the United States military.
Although flying under military command, the women pilots of the WASP were classified as civilians. They were paid through the civil service. No military benefits were offered. Even if killed in the line of duty, no military funerals were allowed. The WASPs were often assigned the least desirable missions, such as winter trips in open cockpit airplanes. Commanding officers were reluctant to give women any flying deliveries. It took an order from the head of the Air Transport Command to improve the situation.
Upon graduation, Lee was assigned to the third Ferrying Group at Romulus, Michigan. Their assignment was critical to the war effort; Deliver aircraft, pouring out of converted automobile factories, to points of embarkation, where they would then be shipped to the European and Pacific War fronts. In a letter to her sister, Lee described Romulus as “a 7-day workweek, with little time off.” When asked to describe Lee’s attitude, a fellow member of the WASP summed it up in Lee’s own words, “I’ll take and deliver anything.”
Described by her fellow pilots as “calm and fearless,” Lee had two forced landings. One landing took place in a Kansas wheat field. A farmer, pitchfork in hand, chased her around the plane while shouting to his neighbors that the Japanese had invaded Kansas. Alternately running and ducking under her wing, Lee finally stood her ground. She told the farmer who she was and demanded that he put the pitchfork down. He complied.
Lee was a favorite with just about all of her fellow pilots. She had a great sense of humor and a marvelous sense of mischief. Lee used her lipstick to inscribe Chinese characters on the tail of her plane and the planes of her fellow pilots. One lucky fellow who happened to be a bit on the chubby side, had his plane dubbed (unknown to him) “Fat Ass.”
Lee was in demand when a mission was RON (Remaining Overnight) In a big city or in a small country town, she could always find a Chinese restaurant, supervise the menu, and often cook the food herself. She was a great cook. Fellow WASP pilot Sylvia Dahmes Clayton observed that “Hazel provided me with an opportunity to learn about a different culture at a time when I did not know anything else. She expanded my world and my outlook on life.”
Lee and the others were the first women to pilot fighter aircraft for the United States military.
Image (via World War II Database)
Text [click for full article] (via Wikipedia)
What if one of the most important street photographers of the 20th century was a 1950s children’s nanny who kept herself to herself and never showed a single one of her photographs to anyone?
Decades later in 2007, a Chicago real estate agent and historical hobbyist, John Maloof purchased a box of never-seen, never-developed film negatives of an unknown ‘amateur’ photographer for $380 at his local auction house.
John began developing his new collection of photographs, some 100,000 negatives in total, that had been abandoned in a storage locker in Chicago before they ended up at the auction house. It became clear these were no ordinary street snaps of 1950s & 60s Chicago and New York and so John embarked on a journey to find out who was behind the photographs and soon discovered her name: Vivien Maier.