One Man’s Quest to Save a Haunting 5,000-Portrait Archive from the Clutches of Time


For going on two decades after the end of World War I, Costica Ascinte was quite possibly the only professional photographer in all of Romania. He continued to work right up until his death in 1984, by which point he had accumulated over 5,000 glass plate negatives and several hundred prints — a visual history of the Romanian people and a culture that, we know from previous articles, may soon be gone for good.

Unfortunately, this massive, culturally-rich archive is slowly disappearing as time and improper storage take their toll. But one man, Cezar Popescu, is determined to rescue whatever is still salvageable, and is well on his way to digitizing the entire archive even as it deteriorates before his very eyes.

According to TIME LightBox, Popescu first ran across the archive at a regional museum, where a small collection of postcards was being displayed. The museum had acquired the plates from the Ascite family where they had been stored in crates that were open to both the elements and the occasional farm animal.

Needless to say, they were in pretty bad shape, and so Popescu — whose father had worked with Costica Ascite’s son as a photographer — took an interest in the archive and convinced the museum to let him digitize the plates before they degraded any more than they already had.

Here’s a quick look at the painstaking process Popescu goes through for every single negative:

“Piece by piece I hope to add as much information as I can, but right now my main concern is to get the plates digitized,” he tells TIME. “It just seems a shame to lose something so irreplaceable.”

Here’s a small selection of the 1,000+ images that Popescu has digitized thus far:













Due to communist copyright law, all of the images above — and, in fact, the entire digital archive — is in the public domain and available for you to use however you see fit. To see more of the images, or possibly help Popescu to identify people or places photographed therein, head over to the archive’s Flickr, Facebook or Twitter by following the corresponding links.

(via TIME LightBox)

Retro Photographs os the Smithsonian Intitute

The Smithsonian Intitute has some intreresting imagery from the past. The archive is enormous and now the have opend some of the photo’s to the public via Flickr watch some nice gardens  from the past through this link

ancient snowflake photo’s

If for some reason you didn’t believe no two snowflakes were alike, here’s your proof.

In 1885, Wilson A. Bentley successfully photographed over 5,000 snowflakes by attaching a camera to a microscope (and in turn honing the field of Photomicrography). His photographs supported his and others’ beliefs that all snowflakes were unique.

Bentley become fascinated with snow as a child on a Vermont farm. He later spent time experimenting with ways to view individual snowflakes and their crystalline structure, which eventually came in handy when he had to be quick enough to capture a flake in a picture before it melted.

SEE ALSO: DIY a Hoth Winter Wonderland With Star Wars Snowflakes

These photographs quickly became popular with dozens of scientists who studied Bentley’s work and published the images in several scientific magazines. In 1903, Bentley sent about 500 of his photographs to the Smithsonian, hoping they would be of interest to Secretary Samuel P. Langley.

The Smithsonian now has his vintage pics on display, undeniably proveing that snow is just so, so pretty.

Gallery photos courtesy of Flickr, Smithsonian Institution. Thumbnail photo courtesy of Flickr, AMagill.
Topics: gallery, Pics, snow, Watercooler, winter

Conserving the expedition bases left by the Antarctic explorers

At the turn of the twentieth century Antarctica was the focus of one of the last great races of exploration and discovery. The heroic era of Antarctic exploration (1895 – 1917) gave us Sir Ernest Shackleton and Captain Robert Falcon Scott, names now synonymous with Antarctic adventure and the values of discovery, adventure and endurance.

Four expedition parties built bases in the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica. The bases still stand in Antarctica today and are cared for, on behalf of the international community, by the Antarctic Heritage Trust.

The Trust, based in New Zealand, is engaged in a long-term cold conservation project to protect the explorers’ legacy; the bases and the artefacts they left behind, for current and future generations.

Century old Antarctic images discovered in Captain Scott’s hut.

Read more about this remarkable discovery.