Lunch Box collection; Image courtesy Smithsonian National Museum of American History
Beginning in the 1950s, television transformed the lunch box from an ordinary food conveyor into a storyteller. The screen-like sides of the lunch box offered kids a new form of self-expression. Since then, the lunch containers carted to and from offices and school classrooms have reflected American culture. Certainly, no meal received more cultural “attention” than lunch.
Box makers paid for the right to use TV shows to promote lunch box sales. The studios used boxes to gain market exposure. And children acquired a new statement of their power and influence in the emerging world of mass-marketed consumer goods.
This selection of boxes and their drink containers from the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History explores that colorful heritage. And to spice up what may be a loooong day at the office, share with us what your favorite lunch box was while growing up!
Carol Guzy with her Dog Trixie, who was rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, photo by Will Dolive
By Michael T. Ruhl
You wouldn’t know just casually talking to Carol Guzy that she’s a world class photographer who works for the Washington Post. The humble four-time Pulitzer Prize winner sits quietly in her Arlington home, tending to her dogs, two of which she rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Her living room walls stand largely devoid of her photos, and she doesn’t even display her Pulitzer Prizes. The only indicators of a photographer in that room are a few old cameras sitting on the shelves. Her passion isn’t advertised, but poke her and she bleeds. Continue reading
courtesy of ‘spiggycat’
Sometimes you don’t have your best gear with you. Sometimes a camera phone or point and shoot are all that’s allowed in, or all that you happen to have. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that Flickr contributor spiggycat was not too thrilled to not have the use of her big DSLR.
But she did capture a wonderful image, regardless, using a point and shoot (albeit a top notch Canon G12). Once again, the photographer’s eye and instinct is much more important than the tool available to take the picture.
courtesy of ‘ameschen’
Patterns broken up by a subject or other feature tend to make a photo stand out. In this case, the patterns are the stairs — the many, many stairs — of the Lincoln Memorial. You can’t really tell it’s at the memorial, and that makes it a more interesting picture than one which might have attempted to have the jogger framed with Abe in the background.
Flickr contributor ameschen used the tilt of the camera to create the appearance of an even more difficult slope for the jogger to climb.
courtesy of ‘dr_kim_veis [”o ]’
While looking for photographs to use for this feature (please, consider this an invite to add yours), I noticed a pattern. My eye fell on many film pictures, particularly street photography ones, and I began to wonder why. I think that good street photos require good composition, rather than shooting from the hip. I think that folks with film rather than digital cameras tend to spend a little more time composing a shot (yes, it’s a generalization, deal with it).
I imagine Dr Kim Veis standing there, patiently waiting while all the actors got into place between the lines. The wary business men on their way, wondering why there’s a photographer shooting them, while the man with the phone goes about his business, unaware. All of this at a building that has a reputation of shooing photographers away.
‘DC Streets: The Cathedral’
courtesy of ‘pnzr242’
High contrast black and white photography should be a genre onto itself. Not all pictures look good with that treatment, especially ones with people in them. The high contrast tends to add a sense of mystery and even undertones of evil.
But the best pictures amp the contrast while still retaining detail and without making the image too sinister. Flickrite pnzr242 seems to have hit the mark with this shot. His composition and treatment make this a standout photo. And, of course, it’s in a Metro station.
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’
It’s still summer out there. Yesterday, we came within two degrees of breaking the record high temperature. Today, it’ll be in the low 80s. But fall is coming. It has to, you see:
The candy corn is in the stores. People are pumpkin picking. Sexy Big Bird costumes are in the stores. Even I am doing drinks and dinner outside.
And the Halloween decorations are out. Kim Baker‘s even got her house decorated (as do half my neighbors, it seems). There’s something just this side of menacing from that spider silhouette. But, as cool (or creepy) as that photo is, the best part of it is the sure knowledge that fall is coming.
courtesy of ‘dracisk’
Summer is still there, still hanging on, but fall is coming. This leaf, heavy with rain water, is the height of summer.
This photo by dracisk is a good example of why I love black and white photography. The color in this might be great. Bright greens, I’m sure, and the water magnifying that, too. But the photographer chose to make this a black and white. And it stands out.
The details are sharp, the lens fading off toward the bottom. The curve of the leaf takes your eye to the corner, and the leaf’s arrow like structure bring you back to the area of focus. I could look at that leaf for a long time.
‘View from Balcony of the SAAM, Washington, DC’
courtesy of ‘B Jones Jr’
DC often has a small town feel. You constantly run into friends and friends of friends while wandering around. And everyone seems to know everyone.
Once in a while, the city even looks like a small town. Look at this shot by Bill Jones. It’s taken from the commanding and beautiful Smithsonian American Art Museum building, looking down upon the Hotel Monaco and the Spy Museum. All of these, big buildings, big businesses. And yet. They aren’t tall buildings. They aren’t wide intersections.
This looks like it could be any small town in Colorado, or Pennsylvania. Replace the modern cars with horses, and it could be any town in the wild west. But it isn’t. It’s just another intersection in our town. Our small town.
‘County Fair Winner’s Ribbon’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’
DC is getting a state fair, part of Columbia Heights Day, and they are looking for photographers to enter their first ever photo competition. The theme of the photos should be to show your DC spirit and DC’s cultural independence.
You need to be a resident of the District to enter, but entry is free. Judges from Ten Miles Square (who is sponsoring the event), the Pink Line Project, and Prince of Petworth, along with a few guest judges will pick the winners. The winning photos will be printed and framed and displayed at the DC State Fair tent, and the winners will get ribbons, and a small cash prize.
Read the rules and enter up to two photos on their Flickr group. You’ve got until August 22.
courtesy of ‘maria jpeg’
I had to look twice to figure out what I was seeing in this photo by Maria Izaurralde. It seems that she’s turned her apartment into a camera obscura.
In order to capture the otherwise dim image, Maria used a DSLR and an exposure of about eight minutes. The hotel and Thomas Circle overlaid upside down on the walls of the room is accentuated by the pictures and umbrella. And the figurine taking a kick at one of the windows is a nice touch. It’s worth looking at large.
‘Folk Life Festival 10 – Sky Dancers and the Sun – 07-05-10’
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’
Under the beating hot sun, four members of the Téenek of Tamaletón in Mexico fly around a pole. They do this as part of a ceremony called the “Danza del Bixom Tíiw,” to honor the Lord of Corn. The Smithsonian Folk Life Festival brought them here to do their sun dance.
Most people taking shots of the dancers will tend to go closer, trying, perhaps, to capture some motion blur as the dancers go by, or to freeze the action in place. WeLoveDC Flickr contributor Brian Mosley decided to go wide, capturing the dancers, the big blue sky, and the sun and it’s rays. Wander over to his stream to look at it big and see other images from the festival.
If you’ve got a few minutes, you should also take a look at the video that the Smithsonian put out. It’s fascinating.
courtesy of ‘julianne’s’
There’s nothing like a nice day in the park to get your photographer creativity flowing, and Dupont Circle is one of those recurring themes in our pool. And Dupont isn’t short of characters or things that make for good pictures.
But every now and then you have to take a new perspective on the ordinary. User julianne’s got down low to get this angle of people playing chess. It’s not an angle we see often, and I like it a lot.
courtesy of ‘Michael DeAngelis || mdeangelis.net’
Featured Photo is a day late this week, mostly so we could get you our Metro round table wrap up in a timely fashion. That reflects in no way upon this week’s Featured Photo.
The color red is very eye catching. So much so that many people in photography point out that if you see something red, you should stop and take the shot. I think that’s a pretty good rule, often better than most other photographic rules. It often works, but not solely because of the inclusion of the color red.
The photo above by Michael DeAngelis is more than about that red wall. The composition of the shot tells a story. Or, rather, several stories — like a pick your own ending adventure book. Even in black and white, the composition is strong enough to carry the day.
Just because there is an established photographic rule, doesn’t mean that blind obedience to it will result in a good picture. Composition, story telling, those thousand words, they need to be present to make a good shot.
Via Shorpy, here’s an old photo of Union Station when it was new, as seen from the side of the rails. Besides the old steam locomotives, notice anything glaringly different from how this scene looks now, 104 years later?
(See it big.)
‘the meet cute’
courtesy of ‘(afm)’
Street photography takes many forms and is done for many reasons. This shot looks like a private eye tailing one of the two, as if to document an illicit love affair. The subjects certainly look like they aren’t aware of anything around them, much less the camera. And the processing just adds to the feeling of someone hiding behind a mailbox, peeking above it to get the shot.
There’s a fair bit of street photography in our pool, and I encourage you to get out there and to that body of work.
courtesy of ‘erin m’
When I spotted this picture in the pool last night, I knew it had to be the featured photo for the week. As you might have noticed, we have a thing for the Statue of Freedom sitting atop the Capitol (if you haven’t noticed, look at the logo).
Erin has been taking pictures of the moon rising from and around the Capitol grounds for a few years now. Each is stunning, and in some ways iconic. We see a lot of shots of monuments and official buildings in our photo pool. Most are good pictures, even if we’ve seen the like of them before. But the moon rising over the Capitol dome is special, requiring dedication and timing to get. And we love rewarding good effort, around here.
‘Bender! On the orange line!’
courtesy of ‘Karon’
There’s a lot of snow out there. Lots and lots of snow. And there’s lots and lots of snow pictures in our pool. No, really, go look. Since everyone and their brother is doing snow, I thought we’d take a look at what wasn’t covered in snow.
Karon rode Metro for the 15 minutes it was running last week and stumbled across everyone’s favorite “alcoholic, whore-mongering, chain-smoking gambler” robot: Bender from Futurama!
But what was Bender doing riding our lowly Orange line? Was he here to make sweet love to the Metro fare card machines? Maybe he’s decided he needed a new form of transportation and is studying our advanced 6000-series rail cars?
Turns out, he’s just a costume for the woman that’s toting him around. She made him for Katsucon, which was held over the weekend. Anyone go? What’d you think?
IMG_4071, courtesy of trentroche
And what a year it’s been. Here’s some of our favorites from our Flashback features, capturing images all across 2009. Enjoy.
‘ ‘ courtesy of ‘erin m’
Snow. The first time in the season is always a little magical. It’s rarely too much, not often disruptive, and it’s as pretty as can be. That first snowfall is romantic, idyllic. The city sort of goes quiet under a blanket of hush.
Many people don’t like winter, with its cold and darkness. But winter has always been my favorite time of year. It’s the perfect time of year. The stifling mess that is summer is but a memory. The fall, with it’s picture perfect days, is just behind us. Ahead is the birth of a new season. But, right now, for the next few months, it is winter’s turn.
It’s a time for reflection, of course. It is also a time to rest, to see family and friends. To eat in gluttonous abandonment, to laze around the house and enjoy yourself. Like no other season, this is the season of parties and fun.