Image description: This image, titled “Terrific Pounding Of German Lines by British Howitzers in the Battle of the Somme in 1917,” was published in the New York Times. During the World War I era (1914-18), leading newspapers took advantage of a new printing process that dramatically altered their ability to reproduce images. Rotogravure printing, which produced richly detailed, high quality illustrations—even on inexpensive newsprint paper—was used to create vivid new pictorial sections. Publishers that could afford to invest in the new technology saw sharp increases both in readership and advertising revenue.
Photo from the Library of Congress
Image description: This photo, circa 1889, shows a ghost scaring two men. From the mid-1800s to early-1900s, “spirit photographs” were popular and easy to fake. Learn more about spirit photographs.
Photo from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Image description: The original caption for this image is, “New York City celebrating the surrender of Japan. They threw anything and kissed anybody in Times Square., 08/14/1945.”
Photo from the National Archives’ Still Picture Records Section
Image description: This photograph from 1943 shows a woman in Tennessee operating a hand drill while working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber.
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Image description: This photograph of stuffed specimens was taken in 1906 by Thomas Smillie, the first photographer for the Smithsonian. It is an example of the day-to-day documentation of Smithsonian life and museum installations that Smillie and his staff regularly performed. He used blue cyanotypes like this one to keep track of the glass-plate negatives his staff made, in part because the medium presented a quick and inexpensive way to create photographic prints.
Image courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives