Vintage COLOR Seattle Seafair Coverage [1952]

It’s a really big deal around here, and it has been for a long time! Check out this 25-minute film recently posted by Seattle’s KIRO TV, showing the annual Seafair festival in full swing back in 1952. This is the good stuff, and such a gem being in color too!

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Empire State Building – Summer 1969

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Published in LIFE magazine during that magical time, in an equally magical New York City. The old world blended and clashed with the new that Summer, with colors and styles which spoke more about individuality than they did about being part of the big picture.

Or the Big Apple.

The photo above was taken by Vernon Merritt III, a veteran photographer by the time he captured New York that summer. Merritt was fearless in his job; he covered the Civil Rights Movement in the early 60s, and also got wounded – and temporarily paralyzed – while on assignment during the Vietnam War.  He stayed with LIFE magazine as a photographer until it closed up shop in 1972 (it launched again later in the decade).  Merritt died in 2000.

In this picture I love his juxtaposition of old and new: Empire State Building – by that time several decades old – and a construction crane representing the dawn of a new high rise. It’s a beautiful and simple image.

Click HERE for more photos from Vernon Merritt.

Lando Calrissian BK Collector Glass [1980]

Found this at Goodwill today for three bucks.

Is this Burger King collectible even worth three dollars? No idea. But I like Star Wars memorabilia, especially stuff from the original movie series.

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Old Gold Filtered

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A couple months ago I realized that Instagram has become a heavily-used venue for many types of visual communication.  People are taking photos with their phones of anything and everything. They filter them to look cool. Others are uploading photos to their phones from their DSLRs and film cameras to share, because IG can only be posted from a mobile device.  Instagram has even added video options now. I the 15 months I’ve had an account there, more people have responded to my posts than most other places. As human beings we are suckers for the Likes, Loves, or Faves we get online from sites like Facebook, Eyeem, Streamzoo, Trover, Foursquare, Foodspotting, Twitter, or IG. It’s nice to know that people are looking at, and enjoying, the things we offer up to The Intertubes.

In all of this, I realized that a medium like Instagram could also be a venue for sharing older extra-awesome film photos.

Lone Australian Soldier on Watch, El Alamein Egypt [1914]

Let’s face it: The world around us was captured long before the iPhone existed.  The evidence is there, sometimes buried in the back of a drawer or languishing in a box on a garage shelf.  There may not have been as many pictures of cats or food back then, but life was captured nonetheless.  There are billions of photos, negatives, plates and slides out there, waiting to be discovered and shared with the world.  Some people thrive on finding old prints in thrift stores or antique malls. One man is setting out to retrieve and save millions of film photos and negatives from illegal dumps in China. For me it as easy as grabbing pictures from the family archives, or visiting The Commons at Flickr.

And from this treasure trove I created Old Gold Filtered using Instragram.

General Rodriguez

My goal was simple: Highlight cool shots from 30 years ago and back that are okay for me to use – Public Domain, Creative Commons, or my own stash.  The subject matter can capture the rich and the varied; some days I will post a portrait while others will be a structure or an airplane.  Occasionally there’s a cute kid or critter. Anything that catches my eye might end up with an #oldgoldfiltered tag.

The other day I posted a picture I took of Downtown Seattle from a helicopter in 1975:

The Kingdome and Downtown Seattle [1975]

No long after it was picked up by someone and posted to Reddit. Within 24 hours it had over 10,000 views on Flickr. Why on earth would like little 600-pixel square photo have such an impact? I think it’s because many people love looking into the past, to appreciate the comparison/constrast with today’s world. There is also the notion that good style and composition are timeless accessories to any subject. The fact that a simple image can evoke and extract emotion is a beautiful thing. No words, just the visual to give a message of hope, love, laughter, sadness, humor, or community. And putting that kind of yesterday on IG just seems natural to me now.

Currently the newest picture is a personal photo from 1981, showing friend Jeff and I standing in front of his 1972 Chevy Nova:

Super Sport

And the oldest? A very spooky one from 1865 by noted 19th Century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron:

Sad Flowers

Check out the entire Old Gold Filtered collection on Flickr!

Google+

Retro Selfie [1979]

Retro Selfie [1979]

Sometimes a self-portrait captures youth in its beautiful stages. This is not one of them. I was 15 and messing around with my camera and tripod at home. The mesh trucker hat – now revered once more after years of being reviled – sings praises to the kind of muffler I had installed on my first car. The snap-up plaid shirt was well worn and – quite frankly – a bit small for me even then. If it weren’t for the sweet 70s lamp in the background, this scene could be mistaken for the swinging entry doors of a saloon. I didn’t know much about composition back then.

But I sure knew how to look like the guy who delivered your paper on a beat-up BMX bike!

Hank Thompson – North of The Rio Grande [1955]

Authentic 50s country swing, direct from Hank Thompson and his Brazos Valley Boys!

Since I have more heavy metal running through my music repertoire, old country music is like a guilty pleasure. To me the twang is addictive and melodic. I love the song-stories, the simplicity, the traditionalism, and most of all those shiny suits worn by the performers on stage. I found this at Goodwill the other day, and it was easily the best 99 cents I spent.

I digitized the entire album yesterday, and posted it as a video on Youtube (above).  That way, WallOfRetrons can play it in background of their favorite Retro-Activites!  Enjoy 🙂

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Jets and Rockets!

Bell X-15 Rocket Plane and Boeing B-52 Flyover (Public Domain)

The Cold War was an amazing time of wholesale fear tied to the rise of technology.

As world powers tread lightly on subjects of military might, atomic weapons, and troop deployments, the engineering behind the power was being displayed and used in other ways.  Rocket power and jet bombers were perfect examples of technology which had come to fruition in the 1950s, and ultimately fine-tuned into the factors we see in the picture above.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Bell X-15 and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.

The X-15 was built to test the limits of aerospace technology, operating from 1959 to 1970 with NASA.  It set many records in both speed and altitude,

An American icon of power and aviation, the B-52 first flew in 1954 and went into service with the US Air Force in 1955.  Of the original 744 built through 1962, about 85 continue to fly.  I started looking for cool B-52 pictures recently after reading that the planes were now being configured with Sniper Pods, which will make them an even-more effective tool when collaborating air strikes with ground forces.  Current fitment timelines have it flying – with continuous maintenance – until its full retirement in the 2040s.

That’s right; it will be flying the skies in our military for nearly 90 years.

HL-10 Lifting Body and B-52 Flyover (Public Domain)

 

Now that’s what I call Long Range!

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