Oddities Portrayed in these Unusual Photographs

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Oddities prevail everywhere. Whether it is people with too much time on their hands who design the most exquisite but odd creations to an ape grooming a buck as if it were a fellow ape, the world has seen it all. Some are just happenstance – chance in modern parlance – being in the right place at the right time, such as a ship crashing into a pier or due to exquisite timing when a fish eagle catches a fish. 

All in their own way are highly unusual.  This blog reveals forty such eclectic oddities.

Main picture:   Who would want to cycle around on a toilet? Clearly the designer / builder is not out to impress the females but rather his own ego.

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Lost Photographs of Berlin between 1939 & 1940

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These photographs were taken between 1939 and 1940 in  Berlin and were lost for over 50 years  because the American photographer  disappeared at the beginning of the war, along with his Roliflex camera.

Shown here are the originals (Used at that time in the production of  magazines). The majority are 6″ X 9″. They were found by a nurse in a Berlin  hospital, who kept them stored away during  all these years.

After her death her  daughter returned them to the current editors, who retain the copyrights to Life Magazine, which has not been published since the early ’70s

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Earliest Photographs

Looks like the old market sheds below what is now Military Road. One can see them in the larger panoramic view often taken from the St Mary's Cemetery across the Baakens

This was another first for Port Elizabeth. By all accounts, the first photographic studio in South Africa was established in Port Elizabeth.

The first publicly announced photographic process, was the Daguerreotype process, or daguerreotypy. It was introduced worldwide in 1839. For following nearly twenty years, it was the most commonly used photographic processes internationally.

The first photograph using this process in Port Elizabeth was on the 17th October 1846.

Main picture: The best guess what this photograph represents are the old market sheds below what is now Military Road. One can identify them in the larger panoramic view often taken from the St Mary’s Cemetery across the Baakens River

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Rare Photos of American History

A wood-plank prison in Wyoming, 1893

These 40 photographs span the period from the advent of photography to the 1970s. They provide a glimpse into another world. For me, the most revealing photographs are those of the nineteenth century and the early 1900s. Being almost alien in the 21st century, I find them both enchanting and repulsing in equal measure.

Main picture: a wood-plank prison in Wyoming, 1893

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Insights into the Past

A Normandy Beach landing photo they don't show in textbooks - Brave women of the Red Cross arriving in 1944 to help the injured troops, WWII.

The past always seems so idyllic, so serene, and so sublime. The reality of day to day life is more prosaic, more challenging and far crueller. For instance the use of horse and carriages raises a number of questions. Firstly consider the welfare of the animals. In ancient and not so ancient wars, more bemoans the tragic loss of human life but what about that of the animals especially the horses. The movie The War Horse puts the atrocious treatment of horses during WW1 i.e. only a century ago into perspective. But what about another factor which had to be born with equanimity by the population especially those residing in the cities – the streets caked with horse excrement!

Main picture: A Normandy Beach landing photo they don’t show in textbooks – Brave women of the Red Cross arriving in 1944 to help the injured troops, WWII.

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Rarely Seen Moments of US History

Opium den in San Francisco, 1900

This series of historical photographs is certainly exceptional. From a slave auction place, circa 1870 to a snapshot of New York in 1887 looking more like modern day Mumbai with telephone wires strung from every pole. I am curious about the slave auction place being dated as 1870 because slavery was abolished at the end of the American Civil War in 1865 unless this is a remnant of that event. Another of the insightful pictures of a bygone era, is a photograph of an opium den in America as it is evocative of the opium scourge in China itself during this era.

Main picture: An opium den in San Francisco, 1900

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Photographs to Electrify a Curious Mind

Climbers going up Mount Everest in 2013

So many questions never get answered. Not that one is incurious but life is too short or the answer is not readily available. Whatever the reason, one never finds out. Instead of the usual canon of photographs of stunning sunsets or virgin African bush populated with grazing animals, this is an unusual collection of eclectic photographs. Take time to ponder on each.

For instance I have always been fascinated with Mount Everest. For me it defies belief that people would want to climb it knowing that the risk of dying is 1 in 10 and that the risk of losing a digit or a limb is even higher at between 2 to 3 in 10. Yet, for all that, men in the hundreds will not be dissuaded by the deprivations of freezing cold, oxygen sparse altitude and precipitous climbs in order to satisfy an inner yearning, a life-long desire to conquer their fears and the mountain.

Main picture: Climbers ascending the highest mountain in the world and the greatest challenge in their lives

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