The Most Micro of Photographs

On the Head of a Pin

I can’t get over this post about the one millimeter photo found in the LoC collection. It’s really pretty amazing to think about the amount of data captured in such a small format, especially considering it was taken in 1858! I’ve seen some pretty small photographs, between my jobs and classes, but this one is really pretty noteworthy. I don’t know off hand of any smaller images in other collections. Worth checking out!

Pittsburgh

While doing a little research for a class project on the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection (worth checking out), I came across this picture of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning (the world’s second-tallest educational building, if you wondered), taken by Cushman in 1941, and now I think I will let a dull feeling of homesickness wash over me today. I took a few things for granted when I lived in Pittsburgh, and this view was certainly one of them.

Family Photos

I spent part of my Christmas vacation with my family going through my grandparents’ old photos. We document and save a lot in my family, so I barely scratched the surface, but some of what I did get through was really amazing. I took a few pictures just for my own reference back in Providence.

I count myself among the lucky, knowing that I have such a well-documented family history. This is not to say that I know it all myself, but that’s what makes this photo organization project so appealing to me.

When I worked in microfilm, amateur genealogists (one of my very favorite types of researcher) were always especially excited to find a photo accompanying an old news story. There’s something about a good visual artifact that brings everything much closer to home.

I’m already looking forward to getting back to Pennsylvania so I can continue sorting and rehousing these photos. I came across some really interesting storage methods from years past. Some photos were stored in yellowing plastic wallet-like cases, some were loose in boxes, and still others were in old albums whose pages had begun to fuse to the photos. For the most part, everything was in really good condition though, fortunately. A little weeding out of unsavory acidic materials and rehousing in nice acid-free containers, and we should be back in business. I wholeheartedly recommend this as a nice gift archivists can give to their families for birthdays or holidays. My family is psyched, and I get to sharpen my skills and have an excuse to buy a few dreamy archival storage supplies. We all win. (Bonus: I learned that taking pictures of fat squirrels is something of a family tradition. Double win.)