My life is complete. Not really. That would be pathetic. But you know that feeling when you find something you've been looking for forever? My first semester at CIA, we had an assignment to do a collage showing perspective in my drawing class. And collage is pretty much my favorite, so I really enjoyed the assignment. But instead of my usual stacks-of-magazines-and-vintage-novels-and-oodles-of-rubber-cement routine, I went with a digital method in Photoshop. It was great, because I had an idea of what I wanted to do, so I just had to find the right images. (Normally, I cut out bunches of images with a similar aesthetic, then choose some of them to piece totogether like a puzzle until I can see a narrative.)
Well, while working on this assignment, I found the greatest website ever. It archived thousands of vintage photos, and everything was easy to find thanks to the categorizing system. Here's the thing: I didn't have a laptop back then, so the internet history was forever lost in computer lab S32. Why I didn't write it down is beyond me. So every now and then, I need an image that I know I could find on this website, but I could never find the website. No matter how many times I googled things like "free vintage stock photos."
And once again, I had need of this beautiful archive. So intermittently between checking my email and watching CSI: NY online and browsing the beauty that is Anthropologie, I was looking for this site. AND I FOUND IT! FINALLY! Finally, finally, finally!
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the wonder that is Shorpy Historic Photo Archive. They have thousands of online photos from the 1850s to the 1950s. You can browse by photographer, like Ansel Adams or Dorothea Lange, or you can look through galleries like Aviation, Colored Photos, Kitchens, & Pretty Girls! So write this one down. Bookmark it in 8 differen folders like I did. Blog about it so you have yet another backup way to find it. Or get it tattooed on your palm. You don't want to lose this.
Ps. In case you were wondering, here's that collage I made way back when. The girl in front was found on Shorpy. I printed the version on the left at 18" x 24".