Category Archives: Photos

Seattle’s snow leopard kittens have grown up and are leaving home

The Woodland Park Zoo has just announced that our two-year-old snow leopard twins are leaving Seattle. Gobi (the male) is moving next week to Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure in Salina, Kansas, and Batu (the female) will be moving in a few months to Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. So this is the last weekend to see the two cats together. {Sniffle}

Here’s what they looked like when they were young:

And here they are all grown up:

Well, at least I’ll be able to visit Evita, the new ocelot kitten, when she makes here public debut in late April:

Stunning photographs of people reading around the world

My thanks to Nicola Griffith for pointing out an amazing series of photographs by Steve McCurry of people reading around the world, titled “Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words.” The photos appear in McCurry’s blog, and here are links to Part I and Part II. I particularly like this photo from Thailand:

Go to Steve McCurry’s blog to see the rest of the photographs. Here’s the link to an article about McCurry in Publishing Perspectives titled “Steve McCurry’s Photos Capture the Universality, Intimacy of Reading.”

Historic photographs mapped by location

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for pointing out a cool new resource: SepiaTown, a site to search, view, and upload historic photographs by location. The site combines the historic images with modified Google Maps, so you can search or browse by location. Click on an image to see the old photograph and view the date and other details about it. The “image info” link brings up more information, such as the name of the photographer, the source of the photograph, and the source URL. The “then/now” link allows you to compare the historic image to the current Google street view of the same location or building. Many of the images have been uploaded from library digital collections and Flickr Commons (a site I blogged about last year).

Search, browse, and share digital images from the Library of Congress

Today the Library of Congress announced the launch of their new and improved Prints and Photographs Online Catalogue (PPOC), making it easier to browse, search, and share LOC’s 1.25 million digital images, including historic photographs, prints and drawings, posters, cartoons, baseball cards, and architectural drawings. Many of the digital images can be downloaded at no charge in different formats (jpegs and tiffs) and resolutions, and the new share/save tool allows you to save images, searches, or collections and post links to them on social networking sites.

The Prints and Photographs Online Catalogue can be found at http://www.loc.gov/pictures and a descriptive list of the digital collections is here. Go browse!

“Books are Weapons in the War of Ideas”: 1942 WWII poster from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

Can this really be February in Seattle?

Yesterday Matt and I took a long walk in the sunshine, and I took a few photographs along the way to document the extraordinary weather we’ve been having.

The incredibly blue sky, with the snow-capped Olympic Mountains in the distance:

Believe it or not, the cherry trees are in full bloom:

More spring flowers in February:

Then we went to the Woodland Park Zoo to say our final goodbyes to the nocturnal animals, but of course we had to spend some time with our favorite big cats, who seemed to be enjoying the sunshine as much as we were.

The tiger:

The jaguar:

An ocelot high in a tree:

Three very sleepy snow leopards, the mom and her two 8-month old cubs:

We also visited the budgies and small parrots at Willawong Station and fed them seed sticks:

An orchid from the Tropical Rain Forest exhibit:

The weather is supposed to stay sunny, warm, and dry through Monday, so I’m sure we’re not the only Seattleites with spring fever.

Library of Congress World War I posters now online

The Library of Congress has photographed and made available online 1,900 World War I posters created between 1914 and 1920.  The majority of the posters are from the United States, but the collection also includes posters from Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Russia. Here’s some background from the introduction to the collection:

During World War I, the impact of the poster as a means of communication was greater than at any other time during history. The ability of posters to inspire, inform, and persuade combined with vibrant design trends in many of the participating countries to produce thousands of interesting visual works. As a valuable historical research resource, the posters provide multiple points of view for understanding this global conflict. As artistic works, the posters range in style from graphically vibrant works by well-known designers to anonymous broadsides (predominantly text).

The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division has extensive holdings of World War I era posters. Available online are approximately 1,900 posters created between 1914 and 1920. Most relate directly to the war, but some German posters date from the post-war period and illustrate events such as the rise of Bolshevism and Communism, the 1919 General Assembly election and various plebiscites….

The poster was a major tool for broad dissemination of information during the war. Countries on both sides of the conflict distributed posters widely to garner support, urge action, and boost morale… Even with its late entry into the war, the United States produced more posters than any other country….

All of these posters are in the public domain the United States, and you can download free digital files directly from the Library of Congress website or purchase photographic copies. Here are two of the posters:

Patriotic Canadians

it's up to you

There’s lots of other great stuff in the LOC’s Prints and Photographs Division–historic photographs (including Mathew Brady’s Civil War photographs, Ansel Adams’s Manzanar War Relocation Center photographs, and many newspaper and magazine archives), fine prints and posters, baseball cards, cartoons, and so on. Here are links to the online catalogue and the collection and subject overview, so go browse. (An important note: some of this material is still under copyright. See the LOC’s rights and restrictions information for details and the copyright status of specific collections.)

Writers and their rooms

Through LISNews, I discovered photographer Kyle Cassidy’s new project, Where I Write: Fantasy & Science Fiction Authors in Their Creative Spaces. The website contains 20 photographs of writers in their rooms and a description of the project:

I spend a lot of time thinking about people’s environments — the places they build around themselves, the things they choose to live with. Is there a connection, I started to wonder if there was a connection between the places that writers work and their work itself.

Why not find out?

Where I Write will be featured as eight pages in the 2009 Worldcon program guide. A much larger collection is being compiled into a book featuring Neil Gaiman, Lois McMaster Bujold, and many others along with interviews about their spaces.

Here’s Cassidy’s photograph of Michael Swanwick:

wiw-swanwick

This reminded me of Eamonn McCabe’s photographs for The Guardian’s Writers’ Rooms series, though his are of the rooms without their writers.  There are over a hundred of McCabe’s photographs on the website, with commentary by the writers. Here’s Colm Tóibín’s room:

toibin

And JG Ballard’s room:

ballard

There’s also an interesting slideshow of many of McCabe’s photos, narrated by him, on the BBC website.

Update 8/13/09: This morning Cory Doctorow blogged about Kyle Cassidy’s photo project on BoingBoing and posted a photograph of himself in his London office taken by NK Guy:

Doctorow

No, I won’t be posting any photographs of my husband (Matt Ruff) in his room– he writes at his desk in the dark (lights out, shade down), lit only by the glow of his computer screen.

Snow leopard kittens born in Seattle

Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo has posted photos on their blog of the two snow leopards that were born on Memorial Day:

snow leopard 1

snow leopard 2

The snow leopard kittens aren’t yet on public display, but you can visit the zoo’s other beautiful cats, including the ocelot kittens that were born in October:

Ocelot kittens at 5 weeks

Ocelot kittens at 5 weeks

Ocelot kittens at five months

Ocelot kittens at almost 5 months

For more photos of cute baby zoo animals from around the world, check out the ZooBorns website.

Update 1: The zoo blog has posted the first video of the snow leopard kittens.

Update 2: See my follow-up blog post on the snow leopards for news and more videos (at about six weeks and ten weeks old).

Curious Expeditions and Atlas Obscura

World traveler and filmmaker Dylan Thuras (one of the creators of the amazing Curious Expeditions website) and science journalist Joshua Foer are guest blogging at BoingBoing, where they announced the launch of their new website, Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World’s Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica:

The Atlas is a collaborative project whose purpose is to catalog all of the “wondrous, curious, and esoteric places” that get left out of traditional travel guidebooks and are ignored by the average tourist. Anyone can enter new places into the Atlas Obscura, or edit content that someone else has already contributed.

What kind of places are we talking about? Here are a few that were recently added to the Atlas:

– A hidden spot in the Smoky Mountains where you can find fireflies that blink in unison

-A 70-year-old house made entirely out of paper

– A giant hole in the middle of the Turkmenistan desert that’s been burning for four decades

– A Czech church built of bones

– The world’s largest Tesla coil

– A museum filled with the genitals of every known mammal in Iceland

– Enormous concrete sound mirrors once used to detect aircraft off the English coast

– The self-built cathedral of an eccentric Spanish ex-monk

– A museum of Victorian hair art in Independence, Missiouri

– An underwater sculpture garden off the coast of Grenada

– Galileo’s amputated middle finger

The site certainly sounds interesting (I haven’t been able to really explore it yet, as their server keeps crashing from all of the BoingBoing traffic), but it raises an obvious question, which was already asked by a commenter to their post:

…if this is all obscure information, how is any of it verified? Specifically, what’s preventing trolls at 4chan or the jokers at Uncyclopedia from deciding that there is wonderful, fertile soil available for them at Atlas Obscura, and start posting articles about a gingerbread house in the Black Forest, a place off of Cyprus where all the dolphins wink in unison, or the Bermuda Triangle-like effect near Dick Cheney’s house?

I certainly hope they have more safeguards in place than Wikipedia does.

While waiting for Atlas Obscura to come back online, treat yourself to more porn for book lovers at Curious Expeditions’ “Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries” page. Here’s a hint of what awaits you there:

Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland

George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland

“Hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives”

The Commons on Flickr is a website and program “to increase access to publicly-held photography collections” and “to provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge” by adding tags or comments to help describe the photographs. The Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, the New York Public Library, and the National Galleries of Scotland are just a few of the participating institutions.

Here’s a photo from the State Library of New South Wales of Adelie penguins after a blizzard at Cape Denison, taken by Frank Hurley during the First Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914:

penguins

Here’s an 1882 albumen print of Oscar Wilde from the George Eastman House Collection:

wilde

Thanks to LISNews for the tip.

Porn for book lovers

Thanks to MobyLives, I’ve discovered that the Mirage Bookmark website has a collection of stunning photos of the “Most Interesting Bookstores of the World” and the “Most Interesting Libraries of the World.”

Are you sure you can handle it? Here’s a taste…

The Lello Bookstore in Porto, Portugal:

lello-bookstore-porto

Bookstore El Atenio in Buenos Aires:

bookstore-el-ateneo-2

The Library of the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain:

royal-library-el-escorial

The Central Public Library in Vancouver, Canada:

central-library-vancouver

Had enough? No? How about a photo from Wired magazine of Jay Walker’s personal library:

ff_walker4_f

I feel faint…

Update: You can find many more sexy photos of libraries on the Curious Expeditions blog in a post from September 2007 titled “Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries.” Be sure to check out the rest of this amazing site.

Digital collection news from two of my favorite libraries

Last month the Library of Congress digitally scanned the 25,000th book in its “Digitizing American Imprints” program, which “scans aging ‘brittle’ books often too fragile to serve to researchers.” From their January 14, 2009 press release:

The Library, which has contracted with the Internet Archive for digitization services, is combining its efforts with other libraries as part of the open content movement. The movement, which includes over 100 libraries, universities and cultural institutions, aims to digitize and make freely available public-domain books in a wide variety of subject areas.

Books scanned in this pilot project come primarily from the Library’s local history and genealogy sections of the General Collections. For many of these titles, only a few copies exist anywhere in the world, and a reader would need to travel to Washington to view the Library’s copy. Now, the works can be accessed freely online or downloaded for closer inspection or printing. Readers can search the text for individual words, making the digital copy an even more valuable research tool than the original…

All scanning operations are housed in the Library’s John Adams Building on Capitol Hill. Internet Archive staff work two shifts each day on 10 “Scribe” scanning stations. The operation can digitize up to 1,000 volumes each week. Shortly after scanning is complete, the books are available online at www.archive.org. Books can be read online or downloaded for more intensive study. The Library of Congress is actively working with the Internet Archive on the development of a full-featured, open-source page turner. A beta version, called the Flip Book, is currently available on the Internet Archive site…

The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages…

The Internet Archive is also home to the Wayback Machine, an archive of 85 billion web pages “from 1996 to a few months ago.”  Type in a web address and choose from the archived dates available. It’s kind of like digital time travel.

The Folger Shakespeare Library “is expanding access to its digital collection by offering free online access to over 20,000 images from the library’s holdings.” From their January 15, 2009 press release:

The digital image collection includes books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, art, and 218 of the Folger’s pre-1640 quarto editions of the works of William Shakespeare. Users can now examine these collection items in detail while accessing the Folger’s rare materials from desktop anywhere in the world.”Digital initiatives are an important and ongoing part of our mission to provide access to the Folger collection,” said Gail Kern Paster, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. “Cherishing the past has never been in conflict with embracing the future. The promise of digitization is one more powerful case in point. We now have opportunities to bring the Folger’s extraordinary collection to more users than ever.”

Julie Ainsworth, the Folger’s Head of Photography and Digital Imaging, said, “We began digitizing the collection in 1995. By making the collection available online, we are giving researchers and the public an important tool.”

The Folger’s digital image collection provides resources for users to view multiple images side by side, save their search results, create permanent links to images, and perform other tasks through a free software program, Luna Insight.

Stephen Enniss, Eric Weinmann Librarian at the Folger said that “These features will create more ways for researchers, students, and teachers to experience the collection. They can share images with each other, generate online galleries, and examine items from Queen Elizabeth’s letters to costume sketches. As a library we’re continually seeking ways to expand access to researchers and students across the country and around the world.”

The Folger is also collaborating with the University of Oxford to create the Shakespeare Quartos Archive, which will provide free online access to interactive, high-resolution images of the 75 quarto editions of Shakespeare’s plays. Other participants include the British Library, the University of Edinburgh Library, the Huntington Library, and the National Library of Scotland, and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities which is designing a special interface for the Hamlet quartos in the archive. The Shakespeare Quartos Archive is funded by a new Transatlantic Digitization Collaboration Grant awarded jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Joint Information Systems Committee. In addition, Picturing Shakespeare will make 10,000 images from the Folger collection – including prints, drawings, and photographs relating to Shakespeare – available to teachers, scholars, and the general public through an initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both projects join a fast-growing body of podcasts, videos, and other online content produced by the library.

Here’s the link to the Folger’s Digital Image Collection.

As I wrote in my blog post about library resources you can access from home, rare book library websites offer extraordinary and unique digital collections, online exhibitions, virtual galleries and showcases, essays and articles, collection and research guides, and bibliographies. So go explore.

Millions of historic LIFE photos now on Google

Here’s a great new research tool– you can now search or browse through millions of historic photographs from the LIFE magazine photo archive on Google Image Search.

An excerpt from the announcement on Google’s blog:

We’re excited to announce the availability of never-before-seen images from the LIFE photo archive…. This collection of newly-digitized images includes photos and etchings produced and owned by LIFE dating all the way back to the 1750s.

Only a very small percentage of these images have ever been published. The rest have been sitting in dusty archives in the form of negatives, slides, glass plates, etchings, and prints. We’re digitizing them so that everyone can easily experience these fascinating moments in time. Today about 20 percent of the collection is online; during the next few months, we will be adding the entire LIFE archive — about 10 million photos.

See masters like Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White documenting pivotal world events, capturing the evolution of lifestyles and fashions, and opening windows into the lives of celebrities and everyday people.