Monday, January 14, 2008

Jack Delano

Here's your night photography history lesson for the month.

The Shorpy Blog posted this great vintage night photograph of the Santa Fe R.R. yard in Los Angeles in 1943 by Jack Delano (Santa Fe refers to the railroad company, not the city).

(4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano, 1943)

From Shorpy: the 100-Year Old Photo Blog:

March 1943. Another night shot by Jack Delano, taken on his Santa Fe rail trip west from Chicago in 1943. His description of this scene: "Activity in the Santa Fe R.R. yard, Los Angeles. Due to blackout regulations, floodlights, switch lights, locomotive headlights and lights on the bridge in background have been shaded to cast light downward. Broad streaks of light are caused by paths of locomotive headlights, thin wavy lines by lamps of switchmen working in the yard."

Jack Delano was one of the photographers for the Farm Security Administration until its dissolution in 1943. I recently learned that he was also a composer, as well as a photographer. If you browse through the FSA's archives, you'll see that there are quite a few night photographs in their collection. Marion Post Wolcott, for example, also shot a fair number of night photographs in the 1930's and 40's.

Shorpy is blog of photographs that depict life approximately 100 years ago. It includes many photographs from the Farm Security Administration. The blog posts approximately one vintage photograph per day, and sometimes more. It's a great way to catch up on your photo history without cracking open a book.


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