Monday, August 22, 2005

Capture the Moment

At one of my jobs, I have to take old newspaper photographs (as in photos that were used in a newspaper-not the newspaper itself), identify them, and assign keywords to them (so one doing a search for "ballerinas" will be able to find photos of them).

It's really fascinating work, and I've learned a few lessons. I'm working with pictures from the first half of the 20th century, a time far removed from now...it's fascinating to see the differences in priorities. The pictures from 1939-1945 don't show grisly photos of men bleeding and dying, but rather portraits of handsome young men dressed proudly in their uniforms, off to do service to their country, or of ostentatiously decorated officers shaking hands or speaking or looking at maps with other decorated officers. The portraits of soldiers...there aren't usually captions that go with these pictures, just names. Were they in the paper because they recieved a Purple Cross for saving a fellow soldier's life? Or was it a death notice? Killed in action...

Another thing that struck me were the many many pictures of screen "legends." I wonder where they are now.. The dashing bachelor and the ravishing maiden, the world-renowned soprano, are (if they're still alive) old, perhaps in nursing homes, no longer able to hold a fork on their own. Certainly not out wooing everyone in sight, their looks faded.

All I see is the picture. I make up my own story...but sometimes I wonder-what happened to the people?

7 comments:

defen said...

Sounds like a good job.

MC Aryeh said...

That would be really interesting to follow up on the people in the pictures. Have you tried IMDB for the screen legends?

TRW said...

Defen: Yes, most of the time. Just as long as I'm working on THESE pictures, and not some other ones...:\

Mcaryeh: I've actually used it once or twice, but only 'cause I did a Google search on the name to find out who a particular person was. IMDB gives general bio info? (Other than birthdate, place, etc.)

MC Aryeh said...

IMDB does give biographical info. Just click on the "show more" link under date and place of birth and death.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Interesting job, and those type of pictures from that period of time are a bit easier to deal with than the ones I often associate with when thinking of 1939-45, of Jews starving and being sent on trains to the concentration camps.

It is good to hear about some positive images as well from that period.

TRW said...

Barbara: I think the more graphic pictures only came out after the war. Especially in the US. Very few people knew the extent of what was going on, and the people that did know about it were skeptical that such atrocities could actually occur. There were also limitations on what the press could print, I believe, to keep morale up for the folks reading the paper back home.

fsgsf said...

Sometimes the charachter or office is bigger than the person filling it!

Peace!

NJ from NJ