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  • Post WW2 Occupation Slides

    Posted by Dan from Madison on November 28th, 2007 (All posts by )

    As of late I have been not only discouraged, but pissed off by the level of decorum on a lot of sites and blogs that I visit. It seems that people can’t make informed opinions about anything remotely related to politics, current events or anything even the slightest bit controversial without being greeted by swarms of ideologues, sycophants, and idiots.

    I rarely have time to plow through lengthy comment threads.  I was really interested in the comments to a recent post that I enjoyed (at another site), but the thread was over 250 comments long at the time I saw the post.  And that was just six hours after the original post was put up.

    Don’t people work?

    I have decided to simply read posts, enjoy them, and try not to get too caught up in trying to soldier forth in comment threads where idiots seem to rule the day.

    Along these lines, something really caught my eye yesterday at one of my daily reads.  Lou Minatti has taken a wonderful new tack.  Here is his quote:

    I’ve been posting the SOS lately, so I think this will be an early post-WWII photo blog for a while. What more remains to be said about the housing bust and the state of US politics?

    Ain’t that the truth. 

    Lou has a treasure trove of slides that his wife’s grandfather (a Lt. Col. in the army) took from the post WW2 occupation of Japan and Germany.  His wife’s dad is featured in some of the photos, as a toddler.  As an aside, the photographer looks to be pretty competent.  It seems that most old photos I have seen are always better than the modern photos I look at today.  I think since resources were more scarce that photographers of a long time ago framed their content better.  I wonder if everyone took photography classes back then.

    Lou has decided not to moralize or editorialize, rather to present this collection of slides as simply a factual record of how it was in Germany and Japan just after the war, during the occupation.  This one of MacArthur is my favorite so far.  I simply can’t wait until the next posting.  Things like these are of the utmost historical importance for understaning the post WW2 time period and may help us to understand other military occupations.  Perhaps one of you readers may be able to help him identify a face or a place.  Go forth and enjoy.

     

    6 Responses to “Post WW2 Occupation Slides”

    1. John Jay Says:

      “It seems that most old photos I have seen are always better than the modern photos I look at today. I think since resources were more scarce that photographers of a long time ago framed their content better.”

      Lens selection was different. Today’s lenses with a wide range of zooms tempt photogs to put too much into the picture. They didn’t have that option on an old Leica.

    2. Phil Fraering Says:

      25 years ago I had a Pentax 35mm you could focus by turning the outside of the lens housing.

      Now you can’t manually focus most cameras if you wanted to. The camera itself no longer presents a tradeoff between f-stop/depth of field and exposure time.

      I _can_ manually focus my digital Fujifilm camera – I bought it for work applications where I’d need to get extreme closeups – but it’s not something you can intuitively use.

      A digital camera with a manual focus that worked as easily as the Pentax’s is beyond my means.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      As an aside, the photographer looks to be pretty competent. It seems that most old photos I have seen are always better than the modern photos I look at today. I think since resources were more scarce that photographers of a long time ago framed their content better. I wonder if everyone took photography classes back then.

      I think it’s purely a signal-to-noise thing. Back then, few people had good cameras and film was expensive. People who made photos tended to be serious about photography and unlikely to use expensive film on marginal images. Now lots of people, with different levels of interest, have good cameras that cost nothing to operate, and they can post the results on the Internet at zero cost. So we are flooded with photos, most of which are junk. But I suspect that people are also making more good photos than ever, both in absolute and per capita terms. It’s just hard to find them. Look at Flickr. Most of the photos there are crap, but if you know where and how to look, you can also find many extremely good photos.

    4. Angie Schultz Says:

      It seems that most old photos I have seen are always better than the modern photos I look at today.

      This is contrary to my experience. In my family pictures it’s inevitable that someone’s head is cut off, or the subject is crammed into one side of the frame, or is very tiny in a huge frame. I told my brother that apparently cameras didn’t have viewfinders in those days; you just pointed the camera in the general direction of your subject, and hoped for the best.

    5. Lou Minatti Says:

      Thanks for the nice words, Dan. I just posted another set.

    6. John Jay Says:

      “A digital camera with a manual focus that worked as easily as the Pentax’s is beyond my means.”

      I recoomend the Cannon Digital Rebel as an extremely good platform if you already have Cannon 35mm film camera – you can use the same lenses, and it costs ~$600 at B&H. The manual controls were developed for the SLR version, so it should be as intuitive as the Pentax.