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July 18, 2024

Extraordinary ‘Selfies’ Taken by Pilots During the First World War

These photographs were taken during biplane training flights just before and after the United States entered World War I, in San Diego, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas. Most of the pictures were taken by the pilot of the second man in a plane, usually the flying instructor; a few of the images were taken by the pilot. All the pictures were taken during flights at training airfields.

While both mono-winged and bi-winged planes were developed during the early years of the 20th century, by 1914 it was the biplane which had become the focus for aeronautic activity, its pair of wings giving it both greater strength and enhanced maneuverability.

The camera used to take these pictures was typically a Vest Pocket Kodak (VPK) – known as the “Soldier’s Camera.” It was, for its time, a very thin camera designed to fit in a vest or waistcoat pocket. On the market from 1912 to 1926, it was extremely popular, with more than two million of them sold.
The VPK had some technical limitations, and was not able to focus at fewer than about six feet and also had a slow shutter speed - hence the slightly out-of-focus quality to some of the photographs.

The flights shown took place at Curtiss Flying School, in San Diego, and Kelly Field in San Antonio. Curtiss Flying School had originally been started as a direct competitor to the Wright Brothers’ Flying School, in 1910. In fact, one Wright brother – the less famous Lorin Wright – was sent to spy at Curtiss’ New York field. The U.S. Army took control of the Curtiss Flying School in 1917. Kelly Field – originally a cleared cotton field – was established as an Air Training Service Camp after the United States entered World War I, in 1917. Initially, tents were used as hangars.






A Beatles Reunion Almost Happened at Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd’s Wedding in 1979

Fans dreamed of a Beatles reunion long after they broke up in 1970. They came close to getting one a few times over the years. The Fab Four almost attended Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd’s wedding in 1979. However, one couldn’t make it.

On May 19, 1979 a select group of party-goers witnessed the closest thing to a live Beatles reunion when Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr reunited to jam at Eric Clapton’s wedding reception at his English estate. The impromptu performance marked the first time the three former-Beatles had played in public together since the group's final performance on the Apple Rooftop on January 30, 1969.

Clapton had married Harrison’s ex-wife Pattie Boyd, and set up an outdoor stage for a mammoth jam session which featured the three ex-Beatles, a reformed Cream, the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman, Elton John, David Bowie, members of Clapton’s band Cream and Denny Laine, from McCartney’s band Wings.

Although the three former “Fabs” also took part in a makeshift sing-a-long jam at Starr’s wedding in 1981, the Clapton wedding reception marks the only time that the former Beatles made music onstage in a somewhat professional manner. Among the many songs reported to have been performed that day were the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Get Back.”

John Lennon was not performing with them that night for unknown reasons which, it has to be said, may well just be down to him being based in America and was unable to come back for the wedding. Unfortunately, it meant it would just be The Threetles who performed at the wedding but it was still a landmark event nonetheless.

During an interview for Harper’s Bazaar in 2018, Taylor Swift talked with Boyd about how a Beatles reunion could have happened at Boyd and Clapton’s wedding in 1979.

“For me, one of the most heartbreaking moments in the book is when, years later, you and Eric get married, and George and his new wife, Olivia, come to the wedding party, Paul comes, Ringo comes, but John couldn’t go,” Swift told Boyd. “He said later that he would have loved to come. That night there was a huge jam session, and had he been there it would have been the last time the Beatles played together.”

“Can you imagine? I was heartbroken,” Boyd said. “John felt he couldn’t come because he thought if he left America they wouldn’t let him back in, and it was important for him to be in America.”

Both Clapton and Boyd published their memoirs in 2008 and spoke about their decade long marriage. Boyd says that upon looking at her relationship with Clapton decades after their split, she ultimately regrets leaving Harrison for him: “I don’t want to totally blame Eric, but I think his behavior was wrong — was morally wrong to entice me to leave George, because I was married to George and I really shouldn't have done that. But also, I was wrong as well to allow myself to be flattered (by Eric) to that extent. So, y’know we both were wrong morally on that moral issue.”

Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd divorced in 1988. She stayed in close contact with Harrison until his death in 2001 — but has no ongoing relationship with Clapton.






Naomi Sims: One of the First African-American Supermodels

Born 1948 in Oxford, Mississippi, American model, businesswoman and author Naomi Sims became one of the first successful black models while still in her teens, and achieved worldwide recognition from the late 1960s into the early 1970s, appearing in popular fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vogue Italia, and Cosmopolitan. She also frequently collaborated with photographers Anthony Barboza, Richard Avedon, Francesco Scavullo, Irving Penn, and William Helburn and Berry Berenson.

Naomi Sims, photo Yale Joel, 1974

By 1972, Hollywood took an interest in Sims as a potential actress and offered her the title role in the movie Cleopatra Jones, but when Sims read the script, she was appalled by the racist portrayal of blacks in the movie and turned it down. Sims ultimately decided to go into the beauty business for herself.

Sims retired from modeling in 1973 to start her own business, which created a successful wig collection fashioned after the texture of straightened black hair. It eventually expanded “into a multimillion-dollar beauty empire and at least five books on modeling and beauty”.

Sims authored several books on modeling, health, and beauty, including All About Health and Beauty for the Black Woman, How to Be a Top Model and All About Success for the Black Woman, as well as an advice column for teenage girls in Right On! magazine.

Sims was the first African-American model to appear on the covers of Ladies’ Home Journal and Life. She died of breast cancer in 2009, aged 61, in Newark, New Jersey. Take a look at these stunning photos to see portraits of young Naomi Sims as a model in the 1960s and 1970s.

Naomi Sims outside Metropolitan Museum, photo by Gosta Peterson, New York Times, 1967

Naomi Sims in dashing black-dyed Russian broadtail lamb coat with white leather ruching the pockets and cuffs and lining the stand-up collar by Maximilian, photo by Gianni Penati, Vogue, November 1, 1968

Naomi Sims in Fouke-dyed black seal fur kimono coat with white mink along the edges and tied with white leather belt by Jean Louis, shoes by Andrew Geller, photo by Alexis Waldeck, Vogue, September 15, 1968

Naomi Sims, photo Anthony Barboza, 1968

Naomi Sims in a marvelous short white crêpe dress with a high turtleneck and long white sleeves and an out-and-out fringe streaming from sleeves and yoke and hem to floor by Dominic Rompollo for Teal Traina, Vogue, September 1, 1969

The Story Behind the Iconic Photograph of the Busboy Who Held a Dying Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 Assassination

On June 5, 1968, hotel busboy Juan Romero raced to congratulate Sen. Robert Kennedy moments after his victory in the California presidential primary. He had met the candidate the day before, bringing him room service at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

As Kennedy briefly paused to shake the hand of the 17-year-old, a man named Sirhan Sirhan gunned down Kennedy in front of Romero. A remarkable photograph captured the scene: young Romero, an immigrant from Mexico, cradling the glassy-eyed Kennedy, member of an American political dynasty.

Senator Robert Kennedy sprawled semiconscious in his own blood on floor after being shot in the brain and neck while busboy Juan Romero tries to comfort him, in kitchen at hotel. (Bill Eppridge/Life Pictures)

“I remember extending my hand as far as I could, and then I remember him shaking my hand,” Romero shared his story with NPR. “And as he let go, somebody shot him.”

“I kneeled down to him and I could see his lips moving,” Romero said, “so I put my ear next to his lips and I heard him say, ‘Is everybody OK?’ I said, ‘Yes, everybody’s OK.’ I put my hand between the cold concrete and his head just to make him comfortable.”

“I could feel a steady stream of blood coming through my fingers,” he added. “I remember I had a rosary in my shirt pocket and I took it out, thinking that he would need it a lot more than me. I wrapped it around his right hand and then they wheeled him away.”

A less-famous image of Sen. Robert Kennedy and Ambassador Hotel employee Juan Romero moments after RFK was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, June 1968. (Bill Eppridge/Life Pictures)

Romero, then 17, rode the bus to high school the following day. He tried not to think about the shooting but a woman sitting nearby had been reading the newspaper plastered with the scene.

“She turned around and showed me the picture,” Romero said. “She says, ‘This is you, isn’t it?’ And I remember looking at my hands and there was dried blood in between my nails.”

Busboy Juan Romero who assisted Senator Robert F. Kennedy after Kennedy was fatally shot giving his statement on June 5, 1968 during his Presidential Campaign at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. (Frank Carroll/NBC NewsWire)

Then, letters addressed to “the busboy” flooded in to the Ambassador Hotel.

“There was a couple of angry letters,” he remembered. “One of them even went as far as to say that, ‘If he hadn’t stopped to shake your hand, the senator would have been alive,’ so I should be ashamed of myself for being so selfish.”

For many years, Romero blamed himself for Kennedy’s death – wondering if he could have done something to prevent Kennedy from being shot. Romero often asked himself what would have happened if Kennedy had not stopped for the handshake.

But decades later, Romero said he no longer felt the same guilt, thanks in part to the support of Kennedy fans who say the former busboy was an example of the type of people Kennedy sought to help in making racial equality and civil rights a cornerstone of his life’s work.

In this undated photo provided by StoryCorps, Juan Romero, 67, holds a photo of himself and the dying Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, taken by the Los Angeles Times’ Boris Yaro on June 5, 1968, at his home in Modesto, Calif. (Jud Esty-Kendall / AP)

In 2010, Romero paid a visit to RFK’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. “I felt like I needed to ask Kennedy to forgive me for not being able to stop those bullets from harming him,” he said.

As a sign of respect, he bought his first-ever suit for the occasion. “When I wore the suit and I stood in front of his grave, I felt a little bit like that first day that I met him. I felt important. I felt American. And I felt good.”

Sen. Robert Kennedy gave a speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles before his assassination, June 1968. (Bill Eppridge/Life Pictures)

Headed for his victory speech in the Ambassador Hotel ballroom, Robert Kennedy stopped in the kitchen to shake hands. A few minutes later the gunman was waiting for him in the corridor just outside the kitchen. (Bill Eppridge/Life Pictures)

Juan Romero passed away in 2018 at age 68.

New York in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries Through Robert Louis Bracklow’s Lens

Robert Louis Bracklow was born in Germany in 1849. He came to New York City at age 4 with his parents. Little is known of Bracklow’s personality or interests. Edward Steichen, a fellow Camera Club member, remembered that Bracklow was afraid of the dark, earning the nickname “Daylight Bob.”

Molly Granger (1845–1940), a New York public school teacher, was Bracklow’s romantic companion for most of his adult life. When Bracklow died in 1919, his possessions were left to Molly Granger.

These vintage photos were taken by Robert Louis Bracklow that show street scenes of New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

23-21 Pearl Street, Manhattan, New York, circa 1890

Cheap Grocery Store (demolished in 1891, replaced by the Liberty Storage Warehouse) at 43 West 64th Street, Manhattan, New York, circa 1890

The Elephant Hotel was a seven-story structure on Surf Avenue and West 12th Street, Coney Island, Brooklyn from 1885 until 1896, when it burnt down in a fire, New York, 1892

Rocking Stone in Bronx Zoo, New York, 1895

The Grahl Portrait Studio at 200 W 34th St, just west of the corner of Seventh Avenue, New York, 1898

July 17, 2024

Stunning Studio Portraits of Donald Sutherland Taken by Jack Robinson, 1970

Donald Sutherland has always looked his best bearded!







Born in 1928, Jack Robinson grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. He attended Tulane University and remained in New Orleans where he worked as a graphic artist, focusing on photography only as a hobby. His early street portraits documented the rich culture of New Orleans and captured the charm and bustle of the French Quarter and the Central Business District. His photographs of gay Mardi Gras show a society well ahead of its time.

In 1955, Jack moved to New York to pursue a career in photography. He quickly proved his talent as a freelance fashion photographer and caught the eye of Carrie Donovan, then a fashion editor at the New York Times, who gave Jack regular fashion assignments for the Sunday Magazine. After only four years in New York, Jack reached something of a pinnacle for photographers: the cover of Life magazine.

In 1965, along with Carrie Donovan, Jack moved to Diana Vreeland’s Vogue magazine. Vreeland soon became a huge fan of Jack’s portrait work. Over the next seven years, the extent of Jack’s photography career, he completed hundreds of freelance assignments for Vogue, both portraits shot in Jack’s studio, as well as fashion shows and parties. In 1972, disheartened and stressed-out, Jack left New York and moved home to Memphis to help take care of his aging parents. He would never take another professional photography assignment again.

For the rest of his life, Jack designed stained glass, winning awards and commissions for some of the most spectacular windows in Memphis and throughout the South. He mostly kept to himself and rarely if ever spoke of his time in New York. When he died of cancer in 1997, even the people in Memphis who knew him best were truly shocked when they discovered his history. Inside Jack’s simple apartment were box after box, each filled with envelope after envelope, all neatly organized, categorized, and labeled: New Orleans, Canal Street, Mardi Gras, Mexico, Helena Rubenstein, Elizabeth Arden, Dior, Givenchy, Suzy Parker, Tina Turner, Elton John, Julie Christie, Sonny & Cher, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, The Who, Donald Sutherland, Lauren Bacall, Michael Caine, and on and on. Hundreds and hundreds of envelopes, each with negatives in glassine sleeves, contact sheets, some with Jack’s wax pencil notes, even the occasional print, prepared for a New York show that never happened. This was Jack’s legacy. He had told a few close friends that he wanted this work to be discovered, but only after he was gone.

This is the Only Hornsby Steam Crawler Tractor Ever Built, ca. 1910

This steam-powered tractor has been in Canada since it was shipped as a new machine from England in 1910. Built by R. Hornsby & Sons of Grantham England, the crawler track principle was patented in 1904. The following year, the device known as a “chain track” was fitted to a Hornsby oil tractor built in 1896. Several other Hornsby oil powered tractors were completed with crawler tracks, but despite energetic promotion, including the first film ever made for commercial purposes in 1908, and demonstrations for high-ranking military personnel, the idea did not catch on.

This machine was originally sold to the Northern Light Power & Coal Company for hauling coal to Klondike gold fields in the Yukon. After this lone sale, the Hornsby company became disillusioned and sold the patent rights of the “chain track” to the Holt Manufacturing Company in 1914. Holt later combined with Best to become the Caterpillar Tractor Company. This was the only steam powered machine built and is the only steam crawler existing today.









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