The World's First Photograph.
'Long before the first public announcements of
photographic processes in 1839, Joseph Nicéphore
Niépce, a scientifically-minded gentleman living
on his country estate near Chalon-sur-Saône,
France, began experimenting with photography.
Fascinated with the craze for the newly-invented
art of lithography which swept over France in
1813, he began his initial experiments by 1816.
Unable to draw well, Niépce first placed engravings,
made transparent, onto engraving stones or glass
plates coated with a light-sensitive varnish of
his own composition. These experiments, together
with his application of the then-popular optical
instrument, the camera obscura, would eventually
lead him to the invention of the new medium...'
' "The collection provides a fascinating insight
into the many approaches that have been used to try
to modify risk behaviors," said Roger Detels, MD, MS,
UCLA professor of epidemiology and infectious
diseases. "The posters range from terrifying to
amusing and reflect the many cultures from which
they have been drawn, which include national
cultures and risk group cultures. The collection
should be of interest to anyone interested in the
history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and attempts to
control it." '
Culture, music and rites of initiation in the
Central African rainforest.
The Mirror of Folly.
Illustrations lampooning the world's first
great stock market bubble and crash, in 1720.
'... if hyperinflated share prices, pernicious
greed, government and company corruption with
attendant price crash and wealth destruction
sound familiar, it's because the Mississippi and
South Sea bubbles were the forerunners to
contemporary collapses like Enron.'
Images from old books relating to Ireland.
On One Clear Day.
'On September 5, 1942, the Jews of Wolbrom, Poland
were rounded up by the Germans and their collaborators.
By the end of the next day, what was once a
flourishing community, ceased to exist.'
This is their story...'
'These are scans of all of the recipes
in my mom's recipe collection.'
'Every castle in the world is unique in some way. No
two are the
'But this one - even though it's rather
small and humble
compared to some - is unique in more than one way.
Probably the only one
in the world, really integrated in a cave system -
actually the second
largest cave system in Slovenia.'
The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise.
'Both Abelard and Heloise were prominent intellectuals
of twelfth century France. Abelard, of noble birth and
eighteen years the senior of Heloise, was a prominent
lecturer in philosophy...'
'...At age 19, and living under her uncle Fulbert's
roof, Heloise fell in love with Abelard, who she
was studying under. Not only did they have a
clandestine affair of a sexual nature, they had
a child, Astrolabe, out of wedlock. Discovered
by the Fulbert (who was a Church official), Abelard
was assaulted by a hired thug and castrated, and
Heloise entered a convent. Abelard was exiled to
Brittany, where he lived as monk... '
Guercino: Mind to Paper.
'Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (1591-1666),
nicknamed Guercino ("squinter") after a childhood
incident that left him cross-eyed, was an Italian
draftsman and painter renowned for his innovative
compositions and psychological insight. This
exhibition, a collaboration between the Getty
Museum and the Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery
in London, explores the distinctive qualities of
Pretty much everything worth knowing about the
New York Subway (history, subway art, abandoned
stations, good stuff).
Tibetan and Himalayan Portraits: Nomads of Tibet
'... The survival of nomads on the Tibetan Plateau and
Himalaya provides examples of nomadic practices
that were once widespread throughout Asia and
Africa, but are now increasingly hard to find.
As such, these portraits of nomads offer a rare
glimpse into a way of life that is rapidly
Los Angeles Mapped.
'These diverse works of craftsmanship, precision,
and imagination provide a guide to some of the most
remarkable stories of the city's history: its
discovery, its growth, and its industries, as
seen by explorers, engineers, artists, residents,
Ashbourne Shrovetide Football.
'Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday herald, in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, one
of the world's oldest, largest, longest and maddest football games.
Here's the definitive guide to this fascinating, ancient tradition.'
Turn of the Century Posters.
'Hundreds of American posters printed from 1893
through the first years of the 20th-century. The
collection represents the inception and heyday of
magazine, book, and newspaper posters of the
last decade of the 19th-century, and well into
Ashes and Snow.
The photography of Gregory Colbert deals with
the relationship of animals and humans.
The Envelope Collective.
'The Envelope Collective is an ongoing collaborative
experiment in art that uses the transportation of mail
as a medium. The website serves as an online gallery
for those pieces that we receive. It was started by
two fellows named Garrett & Adam who think that art
is one of the best things in the whole wide world
(Art is one of the best things in the whole world ever,
but so is receiving a letter - this website combines
the two concepts).
'Between 1577 and 1580 Adriaen Coenensz from
Scheveningen in Holland, wrote and painted over
800 pages for a work that has come to be known as
'Het Visboek' (The Fish Book).'
'Coenensz laid out all the knowledge he had
acquired from his time as a fisherman and fish
auctioneer and it's obvious he also had access
to some of the well known 'natural history' books
of his day. There is reference to his earning
money from displaying the work at a local fair...'
A Mesoamerican manuscript.
Among his collection was an anonymous Mexican
manuscript, found by archaeologist Zelia Nuttall
in the late 19th century. In 1903 she published
The Book of the Life of the Ancient Mexicans in
which the glyphs contained in (what would come
to be known as) the Codex Magliabecchi were
reproduced in lithographs together with the
original but incomplete spanish notations by
2 different hands. From reading the introduction,
Nuttall concludes that the work must have been
completed around 1529...'
The Musical Stones of Skiddaw.
'On public display in the Keswick Museum and
Art Gallery in Cumbria, England there are two
musical instruments. They look like xylophones,
but the notes are not made of metal or wood, but
from a local stone. These two objects represent a
fascinating 220 year-long story full of obsession,
changing fortunes, glory and international fame.
The story carries on even today, with a new touring
and performance schedule...'
The Great Stalacpipe Organ.
'The Great Stalacpipe Organ, claimed by its owners
to be the world's largest musical instrument, is a
keyboard instrument that works by tapping stalactites
of varying sizes with rubber-tipped mallets attached
to solenoids in order to produce tones. The instrument
was created by Leland W. Sprinkle and is located in
The Last Jews of Cairo.
'On the eve of Ramadan, in the center of
the Arab world, we found ourselves -
two agnostic Jews with no interest in or ties to
the Jewish community back home -
[scrambling] to join in prayer and worship with
the remaining Jews of Cairo...'
Love and Death by Sri Aurobindo.
'This is a free-verse retelling of a popular
story from the Mahabharata, the tale of Ruru
and Priyumvada. The hero, Ruru, quests into the
afterlife to beg for the resurrection of his
beloved bride, Priyumvada, killed by snake-bite.
Death's bargain with Ruru is that he is to give
up half his life so that Priyumvada can live
The Ex-Girlfriend Project.
I'm going to go back through and recount my
entire romantic life, chronologically, starting
with my first relationship at the age of sixteen.
I'm going to write everything I can remember about
anything that happened with, to, and because of
every girl that I've ever been seriously involved
with or seriously affected by. I'm going to be
honest to a fault, no matter how much it makes
me cringe. And I'm going to try to learn something.
Also, I hope to recieve comments from readers who
might be able to see things from a different
perspective than myself, and hopefully help me
to see some things that I might have missed.'
'There's a well-known puzzle which is :- "A bear hunter walks one
mile south, one mile east, and one mile north, only to find himself back
at his starting point. What colour is the bear he's hunting?"
The traditional answer is 'white' because with a starting point of the
North Pole, someone walking one mile south, one mile east, and one mile
north will find themselves back at the North Pole. Therefore the bear
he's hunting must be a polar bear.
There are, however, a number of other points on the Earth's surface from
where someone walking one mile south, one mile east, and one mile north
will find themselves back at their starting point. Where are they?'
Online Mathematics Textbooks.
'The writing of textbooks and making them freely
available on the web is an idea whose time has
arrived. Most college mathematics textbooks
attempt to be all things to all people and,
as a result, are much too big and expensive.
This perhaps made some sense when these books
were rather expensive to produce and
distribute--but this time has passed...'
SNCC 1960-66: Six Years of the Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
American civil rights history.
'On February 1, 1960, a group of black college
students from North Carolina A&T University
refused to leave a Woolworth's lunch counter in
Greensboro, North Carolina where they had been
denied service. This sparked a wave of other
sit-ins in college towns across the South. The
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or
SNCC (pronounced "snick"), was created on the
campus of Shaw University in Raleigh two months
later to coordinate these sit-ins, support their
leaders, and publicize their activities...'
Armed America: Portraits of Gun
Owners in Their Homes.
Photographic portraits of Americans with guns.
'... Whether it's 39% or 50% of Americans, it's
still an awful lot of people. I started wondering
just who they were, what they looked like, and how
they lived. Such was the genesis of Armed America:
Portraits of American Gun Owners in Their Homes.
The idea was to photograph a hundred gun owners,
in their homes, and do a gallery show. I figured
this would take about two years. But very soon after
I started, it became evident that my ambitions
were too low...'
The Story of the PING Program.
'Yes, it's true! I'm the author of ping for
UNIX. Ping is a little thousand-line hack that
I wrote in an evening which practically
everyone seems to know about. :-) '
'The anthropomorphic illustrations above come
from a 2-volume set: 'Papillons - Metamorphoses
Terrestres Des Peuples De L'Air', published by
Gabriel de Gonet in 1852. It will come as no
surprise to anyone familiar with the illustrations
of JJ Grandville to learn that Varin had contributed
some engraving work to Grandville's 1843 classic,
'Les Fleurs Animées'...'
19th century illustrations of trolls and 20th
'Romantic fairytale illustrators Theodor Severin
Kittelsen (i, ii, iii) John Bauer (i, ii, iii) and
Elsa Beskow (i, ii, iii) are regarded as the
leading artists of the polymorphic troll figure
from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The
genre would later be adapted by Tove Jansson for
her internationally successful Moomin characters
(i, ii, iii)...'
'These watercolour sketches from 1897 were painted
by a local Burmese artist. For each of the ~90
illustrations in the album there is an accompanying
description by a missionary. 'Watercolour
Paintings of Burmese Life' [Ms. Burm. a. 5]
is online at the Bodleian Library at the
University of Oxford. '
Pomo Bear Doctors.
Native American lore.
'This is a monograph on a typical variety of native
Californian shamanism, the animal-impersonator.
This describes the practice among the Pomo, a
Northern Californian people. Despite the title
'Bear Doctor,' these shamans did not cure: they
were berserkers, as befits their totem, with a
license to kill up to four people per year. '
The St. John's Bible.
'This exhibition is devoted to a single work of art,
an illuminated, handwritten Bible commissioned by
Saint John's University and Abbey in Minnesota.
This contemporary Bible is at once old and new:
a masterpiece of the ancient crafts of calligraphy
and illumination that could only be made by
artists of today. The Saint John's Bible is
being created by professional scribes in a
scriptorium in Wales, under the direction of
Donald Jackson, one of the world's foremost
1500-1550 in Fashion.
'Fashion in the period 1500-1550 in Western
Europe is marked by voluminous clothing worn in
an abundance of layers (one reaction to the cooling
termperatures of the Little Ice Age, especially in
Northern Europe and the British Isles). Contrasting
fabrics, slashes, embroidery, applied trims, and
other forms of surface ornamentation became
Part of the Wikipedia series on the history
of Western fashion
Each half-century or decade from 1500 to the present
illustrated by contemporary art or
Kumbha Mela - The World's Largest
Act of Faith.
'They came by the millions! Some arrived on
overcrowded trains carrying five times their
normal capacity. Some came by bus, by car, some
by ox drawn carts, and others rode on horses,
camels, and even elephants. The rich and famous
chartered private planes and helicopters, while
the less affluent came on foot carrying their bed
rolls and camping equipment in heavy bundles on
their heads. Wave after wave, they formed a
veritable river of humanity that flowed onto
the banks of the Ganges at Allahabad to celebrate
the greatest spiritual festival ever held in the
history of the world, the Kumbha Mela...'
Nice little cartoons about maths.
'This site is a little project that lets me
make fun of some things and sense of others.'
To Whom It May Concern.
The art of amusing letter-writing.
'I enjoy writing to things and people who are
unlikely to respond. I write these letters Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays. Also one time per week I
write an amazingly thoughtful and profound essay
that will appear, as if by magic, next to the
Ancient Spanish Ballads.
'The lavish 1841 publication of 'Ancient Spanish
Ballads; Historical and Romantic' (translated by
JG Lockhart) is considered to be the first of the
illuminated 'gift books', popular (it seems) in
Faces of War.
'Amid the horrors of World War I, a corps of
artists brought hope to soldiers disfigured in
the trenches...' Facial reconstruction in World War
Discount Stores of the '60s.
'Variety stores, like this Kresge in downtown Des
Moines, Iowa, were the forerunners of the modern
discount department store. They both managed,
despite several closings, to co-exist in the
retail landscape for more than 30 years, but
most variety stores--even the larger ones--saw
sales decline with each passing decade and
eventually closed their doors...'
When the Storm God Rides.
(1936) 'This is a collection of Native American lore
from Texas. It is focused on the Tejas, a
Caddoan group which called itself the Hasinai.
The term 'Tejas' is from a Caddoan word which
means 'friend,' and it gave us the name of Texas. '
The 1901 Plan for Washington DC.
Social reform through urban beautification.
'Generally stated, the City Beautiful advocates
sought to improve their city through beautification,
which would have a number of effects: 1) social
ills would be swept away, as the beauty of the city
would inspire civic loyalty and moral rectitude in
the impoverished; 2) American cities would be brought
to cultural parity with their European competitors
through the use of the European Beaux-Arts idiom;
and 3) a more inviting city center still would
not bring the upper classes back to live, but
certainly to work and spend money in the urban
Tomas Estrada Palma Collection.
'Tomás Estrada Palma (1835-1908) was a general of the
Cuban forces during the war of 1868 to 1878 against
Spain and delegate-at-large and minister
plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba in
arms. In 1901 Estrada Palma was elected the
first president of the Republic of Cuba and
was inaugurated in May 20, 1902. This collection
contains 270 items including correspondence,
photographs, invitations, clippings, obituaries
and other documents related to Estrada Palma
and his descendants as well as the relationship
of the Cuban government with the United States.'
13 Photographs That Changed the World.
'Any picture can speak 1,000 words, but only
a select few say something poignant enough to
galvanize an entire society. The following
photographs screamed so loudly that the entire
world stopped to take notice.'
'Migrant mother', the V-J Day kiss photo,
'Einstein with his tongue out', 'Loch Ness Monster',
A Gallery of Illustrations by Paul Gustave
'Paul Gustave Doré (January 6, 1832 - January 23,
1883), a French artist, was born in Strasbourg. He
became a book illustrator in Paris and his
commissions included work by Rabelais, Balzac
and Dante. In 1853 he was asked to illustrate
the works of Lord Byron. This was followed by
other work for British publishers including a
new illustrated English Bible. He also illustrated
a very oversized edition of E. A. Poe's The
What We Don't Know.
'How did life begin? What's the universe made of?
Why do we sleep? 42 of the biggest questions
The mugshot as art.
'The faces are "right out of central casting,"
says Mark Michaelson. For a decade, the graphic
designer collected old mug shots-he
got them from a retired cop in Scranton,
Pennsylvania, from a file cabinet bought at a
Georgia auction and stuffed with pictures, and
from eBay-until he had tens of thousands...'
Top Ten Ad Tricks in Tokyo's Train Stations.
'... Everyone heard about over-packed trains
in Tokyo, but with train stations such as Shinjuku
being the spot on the planet with the largest
number of people per day actually rushing through,
Tokyo's train stations are a true mecca for
Tulsa Unearthing of the Buried Car.
'On June 15, 1957, a new gold and white 1957
Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe was buried in a
time capsule in downtown Tulsa, OK. The time
capsule was part of Golden Jubilee Week: Tulsa's
celebration of Oklahoma's semi-centennial. The
car is buried under the sidewalk in front of the
Tulsa County Courthouse, approximately 100 feet
north of the intersection of Sixth Street and
It's nearly time to dig it up.
Frisian Historical Children's Books.
'The Frisian Historical and Literary Centre in
Holland have 266 pages of old childrens books
in a good quality flash site. I think some of
the books range back to the 18th century. '
Casino Carpet Gallery.
'I began this quixotic adventure by trying to
photograph a sample of casino carpeting in every
Las Vegas casino. From there it grew into a
national quest: in every casino city I visit
now, I make a point of capturing each casino's
floor for these pages. '
'Casino carpet is known as an exercise in
deliberate bad taste that somehow encourages
people to gamble.'
Congress of the People, 1955.
'The Congress Alliance came together in the 1950s
to organise the Congress of the People - a conference
of all the people of South Africa - which presented
their demands for the kind of South Africa they
'The demands called for the people to govern and for
the land to be shared by those who work it. They
called for houses, work, security and for free and
equal education. These demands were drawn together
in the Freedom Charter which was adopted at the
Congress of the People at Kliptown on 26 June
The use and misuse of ' .
'Do you wish people could just remember that one
only uses the apostrophe to indicate possession or
when omitting characters? '
'Find yourself muttering "the egg's what is on sale?"
at the grocery store? '
'You are among friends...'
An artist in the Holocaust.
'Felix Nussbaum was born in Osnabrueck, Germany,
and studied in Hamburg, Berlin and Rome. He and
his companion, Felka Platek, settled in Belgium
in 1935. In 1940, he was arrested with all other
aliens and sent to the camps of Saint Cyprien
and Gurs in southern France. Nussbaum managed
to escape, and lived in hiding in Brussels until
he was caught in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz, where
Salton Sea Roadtrip.
'For those unfamiliar with the Salton Sea, it's the largest body of
water in California, at 40 miles long by 25 miles wide. It's an accident
of nature, as a salt basin in the middle of the desert was flooded in
1905 by a storm overflow of the Colorado river, and the water instantly
created a rival to Lake Tahoe, where Angelenos & San Diegans could go
for sportsfishing & recreational waterboating, etc...'
Oyako - Portraying Japanese Generations.
'In 1982 American photographer Bruce Osborn began
what has become his lifelong work: the Oyako series.
For the last 25 years he took pictures of one parent
with one child in a white studio setting. Bruce
even introduced its own version of the Japanese
"Oyako No Hi" (parent and child) day: he organizes a
huge photo session every year. After some time,
Bruce would even repeat the same parent-child shoot
to reveal the significant changes in the relationship
between mother and daughter for example,
the differing characteristics of fashion
changing over the years or simply documenting
people getting older...'
Hawaiian Folk Tales.
'This is an anthology of Hawaiian folklore,
including pieces by Thomas Thrum and other
writers. This includes many articles which
were originally published in difficult to obtain
journals and now-rare books. All were written in
the late 19th or early 20th century, and are mostly
based on first-hand oral traditions. Chapters cover
topics such as resemblances to Biblical stories,
myths of the gods and goddesses such as Maui and
Pele, historical legends, topographical folklore,
and the folklore of fishing. '
Underground Comix and the Underground Press.
'The late 1960s saw the emergence of underground
comics, a new wave of humorous, hippie-inspired
comic books that dealt with social and political
subjects like sex, drugs, rock music and anti-war
A text adventure game from 1980.
'In 1980, a company called On-Line Systems
released a game called Mystery House for the
Apple II home computer. This would turn out to
be significant for a two majors reasons. First
of all, Mystery House was the first story-based
adventure game to have graphics. Before Mystery
House, these games relied entirely on text to
tell their stories. This idea would forever
change the video game landscape, ultimately
leading to the creation of classics such as
Uninvited and Myst...'
'A British Army Officer has received an MBE for
charity work on behalf of Gurkha veterans in Nepal.
Lt Col Ade Clewlow sold his photos of Nepal to raise
money for children in India.'
Nice set of photos.
French Manuscript Illumination of the Middle
'French painting of the Middle Ages is known to
us today largely through images found on the
pages of books. This exhibition presents some
of the most beautiful and important French
manuscripts from the Museum's collection, which
includes books spanning over 700 years, from the
mid-800s through the early 1500s.'
'Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a Swedish
philosopher and scientist who, at 56, had a
spiritual awakening and wrote numerous books
on his theological views and related topics. He
advocated a version of Christianity where works
count as much as faith, with the trinity existing
in Jesus, instead of three separate entities.
Swedenborg derived inspiration from dreams and
visions, and claimed to be able to visit heaven
and hell at will. '
'A sheikh tells his two sons
to race their camels to a distant city to see who will inherit his
fortune. The one whose camel is slower will win. The brothers, after
wandering aimlessly for days, ask a wise man for advise. After hearing
the advice they jump on the camels and race as fast as they can to the
city. What does the wise man say?'