It’s said that a single photo speaks a thousand words, but for some of the more eccentric of the bunch, a few more words of explanation will always be needed. For the last century, photographers have been snapping both beautiful and bizarre shots of everyday life. At Black and WTF, one person made it their mission to delve into the dusty, black and white photographic archives to find some of the most incredibly odd photos known to man.
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Featured above, Carl Akeley’s life is something from a Robert Louis Stevenson novel. A true survivor, neither the simultaneous charge of three rhinoceros into Akeley’s body nor an elephant’s stomping onto his chest cavity led Akeley to the pearly gates. Rather, it was his fascination with nature that led him to pioneer taxidermy as well as major facets of the conservation movement. Regarding the leopard, when attacked by his spotted foe Akeley punched it in the esophagus from the inside…and killed it.
While the “red scare” quickly quelled the burgeoning communist movement from the United States before it could gain any longterm hold on the political debate, there was a time when communist and socialist ideologies weren’t found only in some rather dusty corners of San Francisco. The Communist Party USA played an integral role in fighting Jim Crow laws, racial injustices and founding unions to protect worker rights, and by 1919 CPUSA claimed over 50,000 registered members. Today, however, a mere 2,000 individuals belong to the party.
Two major-leaguers from different fields in one setting in 1948. Said Bush on meeting the cancer-ridden Ruth: “I was the captain of the ball club, so I got to receive him there. He was dying. He was hoarse and could hardly talk. He kind of croaked when they set up the mike by the pitcher’s mound. It was tragic. He was hollow. His whole great shape was gaunt and hollowed out.”
If you’ve ever seen a beautiful photograph of a charming Grecian village by the sea, there’s a strong chance it was taken in Santorini. Although home to only 15 thousand residents, Santorini is one of the most popular destinations in Greece. With beautiful views, stunning beaches, and amazing architecture, it’s easy to understand why:
Before the days of Photoshop, Instagram filters and instant home-editing software, there was little that could be done to adequately convey the energy, mood and spirit of a moment captured in time to its viewer. Enter the Lumiere brothers in 1903 and their invention of autochrome technology (a composite of black and white emulsion passed through a series of red, blue and green filters), and you’re that much closer to showcasing the depth and dimension of subjects immortalized by film. While the Lumiere brothers’ innovative method was abandoned in 1935 in favor of Kodachrome technology, they present a dreamy, serene and richly-saturated narrative on early 20th century Paris:
All images come courtesy of Paris 1914, which seeks to restore these rare photos to their original glory.