Adorable mug shot of 19th century pear-nibbling toddler

1893 Mug shot of two year old Francois BertillonAlphonse Bertillon was a French police officer and biometrics researcher who was responsible for standardizing the modern mug shot. (Fun fact: the profile shot was included because Bertillon thought our ear shape might become a unique identifier, in the days before fingerprinting). This freaking adorable mug shot features his two-year old son François Bertillon, a hardened criminal who was caught nibbling all the pears from a basket on 17 October 1893. Continue reading

Horses, balloons, bunnies and smoke: Surreal photographs by Andrea Galvani

Photograph by Andrea Galvani of black horse with head covered by black balloons.

Andrea Galvani, ‘Death of an image #9′, 2006. C-print on aluminum dibond, 108 x 146 cm. Collection AGI, MART Museum, Italy.

Surreal photo by Andrea Galvan of white horse with white balloons covering head.

Andrea Galvani, ‘Death of an image #5′, 2005. C-print mounted on aluminum dibond, 108 x 146 cm. Collection AGI, MART Museum, Italy.

Photography by Andrea Galvani of a man standing in snow with upper half consumed by grey smoke.

Andrea Galvani, ‘The Intelligence of Evil #5′, 2007.

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Leeches! Leeches!! Leeches!!! A small collection of vintage advertisements for medical leeches

Business card for Mr and Mrs Bese cuppers and leechers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 19th century.

Business card for cuppers and leechers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 19th century. Via Life As A Human.

Leeches! Leeches!! Leeches!!! An excitable ad for fresh leeches from the Wanganui Dispensary. Wanganui Herald, 11 September 1867, pg 3.

Leeches! Leeches!! Leeches!!! An excitable ad for fresh leeches from the Wanganui Dispensary. Wanganui Herald, 11 September 1867, pg 3. Via New Zealand National Library’s Papers Past.

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Three ridiculously interesting photographs from the history of art

Pablo Picasso wearing a bull's mask.

The models of American Gothic pose with Grant Wood's iconic painting.

Models for Grant Woods’ ‘American Gothic’ (1930) posed with painting. Via Twenty Two Words.

Robert Cornelius, the first photography self portrait.

Daguerreotype of Robert Cornelius, likely the first photographic self-portrait ever taken, c 1839. Via American Library of Congress.

These three intriguing photographs have no real relationship with one another, except that each image reveals a little bit of the hidden history of art. Read on for more about these remarkable images. Continue reading

Those backward Victorians

Group of Victorian women facing backward.

This image puzzled me for days when I first saw it on Pinterest. Why would a Victorian photographer take a picture of this group facing the wrong way? Was it an accident? A modern photoshopped joke? A symbol of mourning? Some sort of feminist statement? Documentation of a photography studio?

In classic academic fashion, I was over thinking it. I’ve done some research on the image and the answer turned out to be deceptively simple. It is not a modern fake, but a genuine tintype from ca 1880, from the Andrew Daneman collection of American Tintypes (photographer unidentified). Can you guess why they are facing backward before you read the answer? (Answer after the jump!) Continue reading