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Rob Dunlavey
Photochroms at the LOC
posted:
The good old days on view at the Library of Congress.
Algiers, lighthouse in moonlight
Photochroms were purchased singly and in albums as travel souveniers at the turn of the century. The LOC has over 6000 images in its collection.
I find these images poetic, surreal, inspiring and ultimately melancholic like a Life that accrues and collects about you and is then blown away like leaves before the wind. Where did the world of these images go? Or did it only exist in the eyes of the retouchers and the collectors of such ephemera? And if this is less than temporary, where will your output (collected by no one except maybe Google) be in 100 years —at the turn of the next century? Will it be in some silicon fortress or in the dust orbiting the rings of the planet formerly known as Earth?
Perhaps these charming images predict a mysterious disaster and a subsequent benefit event at which we will not be present. Today (not always or forever) I believe that these are dark and anxious days.
(You can find out how photochroms were made here. Read and be humbled; we stand on the shoulders of a multitude of anonymous giants!)
Bonne chance!
A disclaimer

Dieppe, FRANCE

Ghent, Palais de Justice
Paris, Worlds Exposition 1900
Paris, Republique
Algiers harbor
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