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Blog Posts by Subject: Photography

"What Do You Say Up There?" Shooting the Set from Above

The most recent post looked at Vandamm photographs of dance rehearsals from footholds on the catwalks, ladders and rigging stations of Broadway theaters. This one focuses on their photographs of the stage crew setting up for those rehearsals.

Like all theater photographers, they depended on the crews to set scenes, move furniture and props, and adapt lighting. But, as you can see from the portraits and action shots, the Vandamms esteemed their IATSE colleagues and photographed them with the same respect as the performers. There are portraits of individuals or 

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"Hey Up There" Looking Down on Dancers

“Hey up there”

Broadway precision chorus lines were a staple of musical comedies and revues. A straight line of precision tappers, kickers or steppers could excite the audience in the orchestra, looking slightly up, or balcony, from which they were looking slightly down. But Broadway-trained Hollywood dance directors were giving audiences a multitude of angled points-of-view thanks to cameras and booms.

In the 1930s, the Vandamms went all out to give 

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The Line King's Vandamms

It has been a while since the last blog post. I have been busy with the installation and opening tours related to our final Fall exhibition, The Line Kings’ Library: Al Hirschfeld at The NYPL, which is on view in the Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery here through January 4, 2014. It, the Vandamm exhibit and Michael Peto: Stage in 

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Or She to Hecuba... Vandamm's Greek Plays

Thorndike's 1919 production of The Trojan WomenDuring the War, Florence Vandamm had not lost her skill at showing character and movement. Her career was, in many ways, redefined by the portraits commissioned by Suffragist actress Sybil Thorndike in 1919. She photographed the cast of the 1919-1920 Holborn Empire (Theater) season of classical Greek and modern plays presented by Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson.

The images were used for press reproduction and in the season program. Thorndike chose to present the Gilbert Murray translations of The Trojan Women and 

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AppVice: Photoshake!

So you want to put your pics in a collage, but the daunting task of selecting which pictures fit correctly or which collage format will work, can exhaust anyone.

Have no fear, Photoshake! by MotionOne uses the most simple functions of selecting the photos and the shaking your phone to make it easy for you. You can then shake to see various different collage setups until you find one that you like. This is perfect for family photos, pics from a museum trip or even fashion photos. Other features of the app will allow you to edit, share and even add 

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A Vandamm Postcard from London

Before leaving London in 1923, Florence Vandamm photographed Sybil Thorndike in at least five additional roles. Thorndike was known for her ability to play comedy and tragedy, so there was a wide range. She appeared in the suffrage play Jane Clegg for Edith Craig's Pioneer Players, 1922, reminding her audience that conditions remained despite the political victory. Thorndike also played in and presented modern comedies, such as Advertising April in 1923.

Theater promotional postcards were re-emerging after World War I restrictions on dark room materials.  

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Meet the Photographer: Ner Beck

On view now through October 30, 2013 at the St. Agnes Library is NER BECK: An Exhibition of Photographs of Lost and Found New York City Street Art, Part 2. His exhibition of over 30 all new photographs, captured over the past year, will be displayed at the St. Agnes Branch of the New York Public Library. As a New York City graphic artist and designer, he has had a lifelong interest in overlooked street art found on his daily walks in neighborhoods throughout the city. Besides his fascination with face-finding and found art there is also a section on display of colorful 

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NYPL on the Road: September Exhibitions Featuring Works from the NYPL Special Collections

Traditionally summer is a less busy time for registrar staff as the most ambitious shows open in the Fall and the Spring. However we have been busy this summer and have received many requests for exhibitions. You should make sure to check out the following shows in NYC that feature NYPL loans:

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Vandamm and the Antarctic, Part 2

Vandamm scrapbook, Billy Rose Theatre DivisionThere is evidence that Commander Evans distributed autographed copies of portraits at his lectures, probably the Vandamm portrait. There is a description, here in the LPA collections, of attending his lecture and receiving an autographed portrait. Unfortunately, it is fictional, but…

Such an experience is detailed in descriptions of New York activities in Our Mutual Girl, a promotional magazine for fans of a film serial made by Mutual and 

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Vandamm and the Antarctic, Part I

Vandamm scrapbook, Billy Rose Theatre DivisionOne of the factors that brought success to the Florence Vandamm Studio in London and, later the Vandamm Studio in NYC, was her ability to keep track of negatives. This blog contains a prime early demonstration of that ability. Spoiler Alert—it gets a little bit surreal.

Like many photo studios, she created pairs of photographs of military officers and their wives, before assignments overseas. In 1912, she made a set of photographs (profiles, seated, standing, together, and separately) for a Royal Navy officer, 

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Florence Vandamm

Perhaps the most widely published and least understood visual record of 20th century performing arts, the output of the Vandamm Studio has largely been utilized only as illustrative backdrop for the retelling of Broadway history. The prints, contact sheets, and negatives of theater, music and dance in London (1908–1923) and New York (1924–1963) are among the Library for the Performing Arts's most requested treasures.

Few are aware that the visionary photographer and portraitist who lent her talent and name to the studio was a woman and one who opened her 

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NYPL on the Road: Photography and the American Civil War at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Registrar's Office at the New York Public Library manages a robust outgoing loan program. We are responsible for all logistics and coordination of loans from the four Research Libraries to the borrowing institutions. Lending to different institutions accross the US and around the world allows our collection to be available to and enjoyed by many different audiences. We would not be able to reach these audiences without this important partnership with other institutions. This year 

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June Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Should we worry about a Medicare Meltdown? Is a newly identified autoimmune disease responsible for instances of demonic possession recorded in the past? What is the Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola? How can we best care for

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Booktalking "Horses" by Jill Greenberg

I love horses, and Jill Greenberg makes them look like works of art. The horses in her photographs look so majestic that they do not look real. She has some spectacular photographs of equines, and she masterfully uses light to accentuate the horses. The horse on the cover looks almost fluorescent.

Greenberg also photographs distinct body parts of the equines. For example, you can see the muscle rippling on the horses' 

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What a Woman Can Do With a Camera: The Photography of Alice Austen

I've always been partial to this particular photograph, there's just something about the girl's pose and smile, that draws one in. This image was taken by Staten Island native Alice Austen (March 17, 1866 – June 9, 1952) who captured everyday life with her camera during the late 1800s and early 1900s in New York City.

You can see Alice's photos of messenger boys, street sweepers, organ grinders, and peddlers in the

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Booktalking "Spirit Horses" by Tony Stromberg

Breathtaking. That is the first word that comes to mind when flipping through the spectacular visual art in this book. The dark cover photo of a relaxed, beautiful flaxen chestnut horse sets the tone for this set of pictorial works.

Many of Stromberg's photos have dark colors and depict wild horses running free across the countryside. They are vivid depictions of 

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Meet the Artist: Ner Beck

On view now through May 28, 2013 at the Mulberry Street Library is NER BECK: An Exhibition of Photographs of Lost and Found New York City Street Art. Ner, a New York City graphic artist and designer, has had a lifelong interest in overlooked street art captured in photographs. These images are found on his daily walks in neighborhoods throughout the city. I spoke with Ner about his photography and his philosophy.

Ner Beck with 

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The American Teenager Project Exhibit: Now Showing at the Kingsbridge Library

This fall, several teenagers from the Kingsbridge and Grand Central branches of the New York Public Library participated in a very unique program. When Robin Bowman created The American Teenager Project, she was photographing and interviewing teenagers all over the country.

This was her first time conducting this program in a library setting, and it was an intensive program that ran for two months (a little longer than we expected, 

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Happy Birthday Grand Central Terminal!

Did you know that Grand Central Station (also known as Grand Central Terminal) recently turned 100?

Opened in 1871 on 42nd Street between Park and Lexington avenues, the station was renovated and reopened in February 1913. Grand Central is one of the largest train connecters to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) 4, 5, 6,

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Photography Special Libraries and Museums

My sister just took some amazing photos of me on my aunt's horse, which reminds me just how awesome photography is. I visited the International Center of Photography library near Bryant Park, which has amazing photography books. I have always loved the composition design aspect of photographs, and I took well over 100 photos of my queen and her three orange kittens that I had this spring. Below are some photography libraries and museums that I found.

Special Libraries

from the

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