Black and White Photography


The first underwater photography

Although not preserved, the first underwater photography was taken by the Englishman William Thompson in 1856. The camera used by Thompson consisted of a box with a glass front, attached to a tripod anchored to the seabed. It had a wooden shutter with a rope Thompson handled from the coast, where he built a darkroom with a tent. With a five-minute exposure Thompson got the first underwater photography, even though the water came in the box, getting a faint image of the seabed.


Anyway, pioneering underwater photography it is considered the French Louis Boutan, to which belongs the first picture that we show. Boutan knew the underwater world firsthand, and was determined to get a method to photograph it. For this had the help of his brother August, an engineer who designed a system to adjust aperture and plates. This first design even allowed to control the buoyancy of the chamber using a balloon filled with air.


The first results were disappointing and they realized that it was necessary to design a flash to get good results. Electrical Engineer M. Chaffour helped them design a chamber that housed a magnesium ribbon. The chamber was filled with pure oxygen and magnesium ribbon was ignited by an electric current. Unfortunately the system did not work quite right because it produced a thick smoke that clouded the images, and in addition generated excessive heat.


Eventually managed to reduce the size of the camera and improve the flash chamber, so that made the whole set more manageable. They used electric lamps as a light source.


With time and more improvements, Boutan became the pioneer of underwater photography, publishing a book in 1898 entitled La Photographie Sous-Marine with his images from which we leave you a small sample:






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Eisenstaedt’s “Kiss in Times Square”

Eisenstaedt’s “Kiss in Times Square” print and camera Leica that shot it make big bucks at auction

Known as “Kiss in Times Square”, it’s a photo that came to symbolize the end of World War II and one that’s particularly touching for those remembering fallen soldiers as part of Memorial Day ceremonies today.

A signed print of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic 1945 V-J Day celebration shot and the Leica camera that captured it both sold at auction on Friday for a combined total of nearly $180,000.
Eisenstaedt’s “Kiss in Times Square”
The signed Eisenstaedt print fetched 24,000 Euros (~US$31,000) while Eisenstaedt’s camera, a Leica IIIa rangefinder, sold for 114,000 Euros (~US$147,400) at the 23rd WestLicht Photographica Auction in Vienna, Austria on May 24th.

Eisenstaedt continued to use the same Leica IIIa for 50 years after he captured his famous Times Square photo, including a final portrait session with President Bill Clinton and his family, two years before the photographer died.

eisentaedt's-leicaEisenstaedt’s camera, however wasn’t the most expensive sale of the WestLicht auction. That honor went to an original Leitz gold-plated Leica “Luxus” camera covered in brown lizard leather with two gold-plated lenses, which sold for 528,000 Euros (~US$682,366). The second biggest sale was a Leica M3 prototype, which sold for 432,000 Euros (~US$558,302). Meanwhile, a prototype Noctilux 1.2/50mm chrome lens sold for 144,000 Euros (~US$186,100).

Below is a screenshot of some of the most expensive cameras from WestLicht’s auction. Sure makes it look your pro Canon or Nikon like cheap toys, don’t they?

WestLicht auction results

(WestLicht results via Leica Rumors)

Hitler posing for the camera while practising his speeches

Never seen before pictures that appear to show Adolf Hitler rehearsing for his hate-filled speeches have come to the public sight.

Hitler posing

The album, features black and white images of the Nazi leader in a series of poses, using expressive face and hand gestures, which he would practise and review before addressing the German public. Once he saw the pictures, he would decide whether to incorporate the various gestures and poses into his speeches and appearances.

Hitler  posing

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The photos, taken by his personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, were apparently intended to give the Führer an insight into how he looked to the German public.

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The photographs, taken in the late 1920s, were later banned from being published by Hitler for being “beneath one’s dignity”.

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The vetoed pictures were reportedly stored in Hoffmann’s studio until his arrest at the end of the war and disappeared into various archives.
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But they were published in Hoffmann’s memoirs entitled Hitler was my Friend in the 1950s, which have now been re-issued in English.

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Historian Roger Moorhouse, who wrote the book’s introduction, said: “We have this image now of Hitler almost as a buffoon. But these pictures show he experimented with his own image. He was a very modern politician in that way.”

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Hoffmann, who introduced Hitler to his then-studio assistant Eva Braun, survived the war and spent four years in prison for Nazi profiteering. He died in 1957, aged 72.

Photo Source: HHoffmann/BNPS