So, while the rest of the world hunkers down to watch (and eat through) the Super Bowl, I'm busying myself with other distractions. My original plan was to make some Valentine's Day cards for my niece and nephew, but then I found an great distraction from that. Did you know about the Library of Congress partnering with Flickr? I can't believe nobody told me! Apparently it's a little experiment that's proving to be remarkably successful. The LOC wanted to make it's archives more accessible to the public and decided to upload over 1,500 photos to Flickr just to see how folks would react. Well, people went gaga over the idea. Every photo has been viewed multiple times and comments have been left like crazy. I think it's safe to say we can expect more of this from the LOC and I, for one, can't wait.
Now, if you're thinking this is a rather highbrow alternative to the Superbowl, you may be right. But just when you start to take yourself too seriously, you find comments like this one and can't stop laughing in agreement:
This photo is titled "Sailor and Girl at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier". Pretty obvious, but somebody was good enough to leave one of those little boxed comment over the couple's hands and note what we're all thinking: "Worst marriage proposal location... ever." Ha!
I'm a big fan of both history and photography so this is, naturally, a thrilling find for me. The down side is that I feel a bit like a voyeur. Some of the photos seem to have been given from personal collections. I can't help but wonder how many people out there have relative's photos at the LOC and don't even know it. Most do not list names. Of course, that could be a privacy issue that the LOC has but has chosen not to include online. Still, I look at all of these faces and wonder if their great grandkids, nieces, nephews, daughters and sons know they are here in all of their glorious youth and often in full color. Wouldn't it be amazing to be skimming through these and see a familiar face? Other shots are well lit and obviously posed but I've never seen anything like them. Especially the WWII era color photos. Amazing!
For instance, check out Elibia. She wears an expression that, I'm guessing, was more frequently worn than that made famous by Rosie the Riveter.
And check out this guy's job:
I think it's safe to say I'd be terrible as a railway inspector. If someone could actually make me crawl down there between the rail wheels, all they'd get out of me would be a rapid fire "Yeah, yeah, everything looks fine down here! Ship shape sir. Can I go home now?" Ugh. What a terrible responsibility. I may have nightmares about it.
Maybe it's just me, but I simply don't recall ever seeing pictures like this (in color) ever before.
That's Washington D.C circa 1941. I love it!
If you're intersted in seeing the photos for yourself, here is the link. Enjoy!