Category Archives: Curiosities

Where Colour Photography Began

Mount Shasta - 1916
Mount Shasta – 1916

Words escape me…! These images, in colour and black and white, were taken by National Geographic Society photographers in the early 20th century, curated by Retronaut and showcased by Mashable ,are something to behold. Enjoy, but don’t follow the links unless you have lots of time to spare! That’s if you enjoy photographs, as I do.

These Autochromes – the first commercially available color photographic process – were taken by National Geographic Society photographers. The Society eventually moved on to other slightly more advanced photographic processes and finally to Kodachrome by 1938, but not before amassing a collection of more than 12,000 Autochromes.

These images are truely amazing. An amazing document of the time, of photography and the people (including youthful celebs). Scroll down the page to find more archive images and articles too.

Hat tip to Michael in Canada for sending me the link and bows to Mashable, the National Geographic Society and Retronaut. These images need to be seen, and appreciated.

Keen To Lern!

When I wrote my first letter applying for a job I was unschooled and innocent (ignorant). Not only was I applying for a job I wasn’t qualified for (no, I didn’t have a driving licence, no, not (yet) 21 years old and no (save for amateur tinkering about) experience as a photographer). However, I wrote, I am keen to lern. Apparently my spelling learn wrongly got me an interview because the employer liked the spirit behind my writing – and I also shared my first name with his daughter! Anyway I got the job. I did learn a great deal and became almost a member of the family. Early learning, (I was probably 17 years old at the time) stays deeply embedded in ones self (body/mind) and I’m still at the point where I could probably¬† print black and white prints at speed, perhaps with my eyes closed!

Like most children I learned to ride a bicycle which when I started seemed completely impossible. But I persisted, fell off, climbed back on again until I could steer a steady course across the lawn. And in no time I was tooling up and down the main road and riding no hands down the local hill, on a minor road. Riding a bike is complex learning and to make the point a chap illustrates in this video how difficult it is to unlearn and then relearn riding a modified bike. His learning looks as difficult as that old childhood trick of rubbing your tummy while tapping the top of your head. That’s had many a youngster engaged, or distracted, while practicing something which is essentially useless!

But, or however, I’ve remained keen to learn and over the years my unschooled state has changed to something resembling ‘educated’. Not in a traditional sense probably. My point, and there is one, is that the brain can learn to do new things, it can and does change itself fundamentally.¬† And what we call the self, isn’t what we think!

Judge a Book By It’s Cover?

Fungus! Every country child, at least in my generation, were taught not, repeat NOT, to snack while roaming in the woods. I never did and as a consequence never had my stomach pumped. Unlike others I’ve know.

Fast forward to yesterday roaming along Kingsway in Vancouver with my host Michele. An area packed with East Asian shops and restaurants. Shops packed with dried medicinal herbs and piles of fungus. We lingered in a doorway and I was tempted. We went in. The image below is of dried Reishi but neither of us were tempted! Brewing instructions talk of a bitter taste. No surprise.

Fungus are one thing people are quite another. We can at least learn to have compassion and not recoil when a sight or sound or smell has us turning away.

Oscar – therapy cat. Video

An elderly woman died
this very morning.
A cat curled up
beside her feet.
The cat
insisted.

RIP
Mom.

And there is a now famous cat called Oscar who lives on a dementia floor in a facility on the East Coast of America. He too curls up beside patients close to death.

The book, Making Rounds With Oscar provides a window on all those; family members, care staff, doctors and the patients touched by the devastating impact of dementia. I found myself educated on the subject while being enthralled and charmed by this remarkable cat.

With thoughts for family, friends and strangers who are supporting and caring for the elderly and infirm. And for all that is involved when somebody dies.

Canine Friends and Human Enemies

Well, it turns out dogs are not just our best friends they, at least, regard us as their relatives. Closer to humans than their own kind! Link.

And:

Cats feature in most charming ways in the film, The Cats of Mirikitani. Another story of rescue and transformation in this case of an elderly Japanese man found on the streets of New York drawing cats for a living. A talented artist discovered, his story told including an insight into the Japanese Internment camps in America during WW11.

So much suffering and SO hidden from view, then and now. Jimmy Mirikitani at least ended upright and walking forward. We can do that too.