Friday, October 2, 2009

Salvaging Beauty

(Click any image for larger view)

(Click any image for larger view)

(Click any image for larger view)

(Click any image for larger view)

(Click any image for larger view)

OFTEN I GET EMAIL SURPRISES FROM DEDICATED READERS, PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SHARE WHAT THEY HAVE FOUND WITH OTHERS. As my readers know, I have to really like what I see in order to showcase something on this blog, so many times
things just do not make it there.

Albert Tanquero, a collector in Chicago sent me a selection of digital images that he made from a group of 120 glass plate negatives he bought at a flea market a year ago. The former owner said they were salvaged from a dumpster in North Dakota. Good thing. I love these images. Albert says that many of the glass images are in perfect condition, but the ones he loves most are “heavily damaged.” The subjects of these images are WWI (1914 - 1918) soldiers, either on leave or ready to leave for war.

These damaged and deteriorated images have a mysterious quality that borders on the surreal. Why? We sense that most of these men were on the edge of a major conflict—horrors they had yet to see. We know that many of the young men in these images were soon to be killed or injured in this first great war of the 20th century or have died since. Adding to the premonition we are privy to in our 21st century time machine, the deterioration of these images simply adds a spooky sense of time, age and ghostly ugliness that borders on the sublime and beautiful.

To say that Albert Tanquero has an “eye” is putting it mildly. He must have an exciting collection of images. Albert also has an amazing collection of old police mugshots and other fun, found photos, which he has reproduced and made available for the public. It’s a wonderful collection of note cards and other cool stuff posted on his web site called

Check it out!


Joey said...

That is a great find and a wonderful idea for a business, using the vernacular photos on different items.

Trix said...

Absolutely breathtaking!

Thank you, John ~ Amazing, as always.

Barbara Levine said...


Laura Ottina said...

Beautiful and touching. Thanks to both for sharing.

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