Sometimes photo history just drops something remarkable in your lap. In this case, PHSNE’s esteemed newsletter editor Beverly Regelman came across The Public Domain Review and put a short note in the March 2022 issue of snap shots. Founded in 2011, this non-profit online website seems to have a web? network? of contributors who have unearthed all manner of intriguing documents, art work, and other media—including photographs.
As the organization’s name implies, they feature items no longer under copyright, though there are a few exceptions, pulling together an amazing range of things that astonish, entertain, puzzle, startle, and otherwise engage and delight their audience. They had me at “Decayed Daguerreotypes.” There are many more here.
I would add that even these few distressed objects have their own wilted beauty, presence, and dignity, still trying to speak to us from 160 or more years ago. After all, they were unique objects, precious likenesses when new, treasured by most people, apart from Emily Dickenson. For more on that topic—The Mysterious Daguerreotype of Emily Dickinson—read John Felix’s and Susan Anderson’s two thoroughly researched articles in The 2019 New England Journal of Photographic History, #177.
— Ryck Lent
(above) Portrait of unidentified man [between 1844 and 1860], by Mathew Brady’s studio.
Sourced from The Public Domain Review
What the heck…
Are Those Even Cameras?!
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