May 27, 2018

Breathtaking Colorized Photos Show the Horror of the War in the Pacific During World War II

Stunning photos of the US Army during the War in the Pacific have been brought to life through vivid colorization. The breathtaking images capture the perils of war, from men being stretchered away to hospital to soldiers fighting at Okinawa.

From December 1941 to September 1945, war raged on across Asia and the Pacific. The conflict, which led to around 36 million casualties, was a turning point in World War II. The unexpected Japanese air strike on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 triggered the USA’s involvement in the Second World War.

On December 8, America declared war on Japan, along with the other Allied nations.

Royston Leonard, from Cardiff, Wales, is the man who brought these photos to life. “The Japanese code was to not surrender and to fight to the death which was their way to die in battle with honour, almost no prisoners were taken unless they were badly injured and could no longer fight,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of photos of the European war in color but almost nothing from the Pacific War.”

US soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division attacking a Japanese blockhouse on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands in 1944. The troops began capturing the islands by landing their forces on the beaches.

U.S. Marines firing an M1919 Browning machine gun during the fighting on the island of Peleliu. These .30 caliber weapons were typically used during World War II.

An Avenger aircraft from the squadron VT-26, after engine failure and a catapult mishap on board the aircraft carrier USS Bataan CVE-29. March 13, 1944.

Spectators from all over the world pick vantage positions on the deck of the USS Missouri, in Tokyo Bay in September 1945, to watch the Japanese surrender ceremony marking the end of World War II.

U.S. Army soldiers on Bougainville, an island in Papua New Guinea, taking cover behind an M4 Sherman tank in February 1943.





Tuffi the Elephant and Her 1950 Train Jump

In 1950, a 4-year-old elephant named Tuffi was forced to ride a public monorail in Wuppertal, Germany. The animal was loaded aboard as a promotion for the Althoff Circus. This ride was supposed to be a lighthearted affair, but the world quickly learned that pachyderms and monorails simply do not mix.


Even though Tuffi was accustomed to train rides, the swaying tram upset the elephant such that she trumpeted, charged, and sent passengers scrambling for cover. 40 feet above the Wupper River, Tuffi decided that she had enough. The animal burst through a window and plummeted into the water below.

Miraculously, Tuffi survived, and lived a long life until 1989 when she died like many legends did, in Paris. Because she did become a local legend, with souvenirs of her being available in Wuppertal up to this day.

(via io9)



May 26, 2018

Theatre Marquees of New York in the 1930s Through George Mann's Lens

Born 1905 in Hollywood, California, American vaudevillian and photographer George Kline Mann was best known as the taller half of the comedic and acrobatic dance act, Barto and Mann.

George studied dance with Roy Randolph of the Randolph's La Monica Dance School in Santa Monica, California. Shortly after turning 20, he developed a dance act - Mann & Clark - with his high school friend Lester Clark. Signing with the William Meiklejohn Agency, they performed together in Los Angeles for three or four months before George signed on as a single with Fanchon and Marco enterprises.

George (6'6") was soon performing for comedic effect with a much shorter (4'11") Dewey Barto. Two days after George turned 21, George and Dewey signed a ten-year contract with Fanchon and Marco as the comedy team Barto and Mann.

Following World War II, George acted in small roles in several movies,[9] on the stage, and with Jack Carson's stage revue but primarily devoted himself to making a living with photography, an activity he had pursued actively while in vaudeville when he took about 12,000 black and white photographs, many of them demonstrating an extraordinary skill and aesthetic sensibility. He also took thousands of feet of B&W and color 16mm film.

In the early 1970s, George was hired by Quaker Oats to portray King Vitaman in commercials and on the front of the King Vitaman cereal box.

George Mann lived in Santa Monica, California at the time of his death in 1977 at age 71.

These amazing photos from Brad Smith were taken by George Mann that show New York's theatre marquees from the 1930s.

 Side-street view of Loew's Pitkin Theatre, Brooklyn, New York, May, 1930

Capitol Theatre, NY, December 1930

Loew’s Paradise Theatre, Bronx, New York, December 6, 1930

Loew's Gates Theatre, Brooklyn, NY, May 7, 1930

Loew's Metropolitan Theatre, Brooklyn, NY, April 12, 1930





“Give Him Air! Give Him Air!” – Ethel Kennedy in the Moments After Robert F. Kennedy's Assassination, 1968

This dramatic photograph of Ethel Kennedy stirred controversy and debate over the ethics of photojournalism following its publication hours after the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles, 1968. Led to where her husband lay Mrs Kennedy bent down by his side and whispered “I’m with you my baby”. She then stood, turned to the crown and shouted “give him air.”

Ethel Kennedy, shortly after Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968. (Photo by Harry Benson)

Harry Benson has captured this moment of raw emotion and trauma perfectly. Her outreached hand is blurred and slightly obscures her face, yet her eyes engage the viewer and reveal her anguish. Just after securing this shot, Benson was knocked to the floor by a Kennedy aide. Instinctively he changed films and hid the valuable spool, which featured many of his iconic pictures of the scene, down his sock.

“Bobby Kennedy, to me, was the first celebrity political person,” Benson says. “He was like Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney. He was an event.”

Senator Robert F. Kennedy speaks to a jubilant crowd at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, minutes before his death. (Photo by Harry Benson)

Legendary photographer Harry Benson is best known for his intimate photographs of the Beatles, but his wide-ranging career as a journalist spanned pop culture, politics, and social upheaval; from relaxed photos of celebrities like Princess Diana and Michael Jackson to shots of the Berlin Wall coming down and scenes of Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral.

His front-row seat to history includes the day that Bobby Kennedy was tragically shot in Los Angeles in 1968. Kennedy was giving a speech at the Ambassador Hotel after winning the California presidential primary when he was shot several times by Sirhan Sirhan, a 22-year-old of Palestinian descent who felt betrayed by Kennedy's support of Israel. Five others were also wounded in the attack; Kennedy died the next day.

“You’d thought of yourself like the guy in the bar who would say, ‘God if I was there that night—I would have done this, I would have done that.’ Now, I’m there; Now I’ve got to do it. So my main thing, purpose was to get as close as I could to Bobby, take pictures and walk around there,” Benson says of the famous night in Los Angeles.

Shortly after the photograph was taken, Benson was knocked to the ground. “They punched me and all that, and while I’m changing film, other people were shot around me. I was the last photographer to leave.”

“I put the film in my sock, because if a policeman comes up to me and says, ‘I want your film,’ and he’s got a gun, I want to photograph for Life magazine; I don’t want to die for it,” Benson recalls.

Robert F. Kennedy moments after being shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, 1968. (Photo by Harry Benson)

Some people have criticized Benson for taking the pictures, and that fateful night still haunts him. But he has no regrets: “Other photographers who were there held back, but I knew I needed to record this. History was happening right in front of me. I am a photographer and this is what I do.”





Fashion’s First Supermodel: 30 Stunning Black and White Photos Lisa Fonssagrives From Between the 1930s and 1950s

Born in Sweden in 1911, Lisa Fonssagrives first studies dance and settles in Paris to improve her technique before marrying fellow dancer Fernand Fonnsagrives, in 1935.

Remarked by photographer Willy Maymald, in the elevator of her building, she begins modeling and moves to New York when World War II breaks out.

While her husband and herself take on photography, she is at the height of her career and is the first fashion model to appear on the cover of Time magazine that describes her as 'a billion-dollar baby with a billion-dollar smile and a billion-dollar sales book in her billion-dollar hand.' in 1947, she meets Irving Penn to whom she becomes a muse and wife, in 1950 and as a reminiscence of her liberated childhood environment, she dares to pose naked and hang herself in a flowing Lucien Lelong dress to an Eiffel Tower girder before Erwin Blumenfeld's camera.

Believing 'making a beautiful picture is making art', Lisa Fonssagrives quite logically turned herself towards sculpture after her modelling career, affirming she had been 'a sculptor all my life […] I was a form in space.'










The Dancer in Birkenau: Meet the Polish-Jewish Ballerina Who Shot Nazis on Her Way to the Gas Chamber

More a certainty than a legend, a woman killed a Nazi guard at Birkenau while she was ordered to strip en route to the gas chambers. But who was she?

On October 23, 1943, a transport of around 1700 Polish Jews with foreign passports were transported out of the Special Camp at the Bergen-Belsen Exchange camp in Germany; they arrived on passenger trains at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, although they had been told that they were being taken to a transfer camp called Bergau near Dresden, from where they would continue on to Switzerland to be exchanged for German POWs.

One of the passengers was Franceska Mann, a beautiful dancer who was a performer at the Melody Palace nightclub in Warsaw. She had probably obtained her foreign passport from the Hotel Polski on the Aryan side of the Warsaw Ghetto. In July 1943, the Germans arrested the 600 Jewish inhabitants of the hotel and some of them were sent to Bergen-Belsen as exchange Jews. Others were sent to Vittel in France to await transfer to South America.


According to Jerzy Tabau, a prisoner who later escaped from Birkenau and wrote a report on the incident, the new arrivals were not registered at Birkenau. Instead, they were told that they had to be disinfected before crossing the border into Switzerland. They were taken into an undressing room next to one of the gas chambers and ordered to undress. The beautiful Franceska caught the attention of SS Sergeant Major Josef Schillinger, who stared at her and ordered her to undress completely. Suddenly Franceska threw her shoe into Schillinger's face, and as he opened his gun holster, Franceska grabbed his pistol and fired two shots, wounding him in the stomach. Then she fired a third shot which wounded another SS Sergeant named Emmerich. Schillinger died on the way to the hospital.

(Illustration by Władysław Siwek)

According to Tabau, whose report, called “The Polish Major's Report,” was entered into the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal as Document L-022, the shots served as a signal for the other women to attack the SS men; one SS man had his nose torn off, and another was scalped, according to Tabau's report which was quoted by Martin Gilbert in his book entitled The Holocaust: A History of the Jews During the Second World War.

Reinforcements were summoned and the camp commander, Rudolf Höss, came with other SS men carrying machine guns and grenades. According to another report, called “Jewish Resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe” written by Ainsztein and quoted by Martin Gilbert, the women were then removed one by one, taken outside and shot to death. However, Eberhard Kolb wrote in his book about the history of Bergen-Belsen that they were all murdered in the gas chamber.

In 1944, two more transports of the Polish Jews at Bergen-Belsen were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, leaving only about 350 prisoners in the Special Camp who had papers for Palestine, the USA or legitimate documents for South American countries, according to Eberhard Kolb.











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