William Mumler's downfall came about, in part, because of P.T. Barnum. The world’s first known “spirit photographer” had captured an image of Barnum posed next to a ghost of an exceptionally notable variety: that of the recently assassinated Abraham Lincoln. During Mumler’s 1869 hearing for fraud, Barnum—the trickster, indignant about trickery—was called to the witness stand to testify against Mumler. Barnum would serve as an expert, the Oxford University Press notes, on “humbuggery.”
Nikon has just announced the winners of the 2013 Small World Photomicrography Competition. Started back in 1974, the contest invites photographers and scientists to submit images of all things visible under a microscope. I was fortunate enough to have been asked to be a judge in this year’s competition, and am happy to finally be able to share some of the winning images with you. Taking first place this year is a 250x view of a marine diatom by Wim van Egmond (photo #2 below), showing the complexity and stunning detail of its fragile helical chain. Other entries include close-up views of ladybug feet, mollusc radula, dinosaur bones, nerve structures in embryos, and much more. Enjoy a trip into a miniature world through the images shared here with us by Nikon, all from the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition.
Three decades and a war later, the remains of Sarajevo’s Olympic facilities.
Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy’s landfall in New Jersey. Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record (by diameter), the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, affecting 24 states, and was responsible for more than $65 billion in damage and hundreds of deaths from Jamaica to New England. Photographers have been returning to the damaged areas on this anniversary, capturing images of the rebuilding, where it has taken place, and the ruins, where no progress has been made, including some neighborhoods that may be allowed to return to nature. Starting with photo #12, the last 13 images are interactive, click on them to see a transition from “before” to “after”. (See also: Part I, from last week)
"People suddenly realized that New York could tear down things it should never have torn down."
Now that the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, is complete, Muslims all over the world are observing Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice. These “days of remembrance” feature a feast honoring Abraham who, according to Muslim tradition, was prepared to sacrifice his son Ishmael before God sent a ram in his place. To commemorate this event, worshippers sacrifice sheep, cows, and camels, and share the meat among family, neighbors, and the needy. Collected here are scenes of this year’s Hajj and Eid al-Adha, from Mecca and around the globe (with a few photos from last year as well).
"If you keep going up and up, the world becomes quite circular and alien. You see the world quite literally as a planet.”
Read more. [Image: Light]
Since the 1850s, engineers have been experimenting with powered lighter-than-air flight, essentially balloons with steering and propulsion. Like other early aeronautical experiments, the trial-and-error period was lengthy and hazardous. Dirigibles (with internal support structures) and blimps (powered balloons) were filled with lifting gases like hydrogen or helium, intended for many uses, from military and research to long-distance passenger service. The growth of the airship suffered numerous setbacks, including the famous Hindenburg disaster in 1937, and never developed into a major mode of travel. Despite the challenges, more than 150 years later, a number of airships are still in use and development around the world as cargo carriers, military platforms, promotional vehicles, and more. (See also 75 Years Since the Hindenburg Disaster).
Over the past few months here, I’ve focused on different aspect of the ongoing war in Afghanistan, featuring the region in the 1950s and 60s, the children of war, and the women of the war. Today’s entry takes a look at events that took place in Afghanistan this summer. For Afghans, the violence continues, and deep uncertainty remains as they prepare for a presidential election next April, and the withdrawal of NATO troops by the end of next year. The photos here are part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.