What is, "The Lively Morgue"? I have 1000's upon 1000's of photos in my archive, stemming back as far as the 80's. I never get rid of old photos. Now imagine how many photos I would have it I were an institution, say like, The New York Times. How many photos would you think I would be archiving then? Try: 5 million to 6 million prints and contact sheets (each sheet representing many individual images and 300,000 sacks of negatives (35mm to 5x7's) estimated at about 10 million frames. Now add to that 13,500 DVDs, each storing about 4.7 gigabytes worth of imagery and you have one hell of a big photo archive or "The Morgue" as the paper likes to call it. But instead of letting those photos remain buried in that massive graveyard, The New York Times has decided to bring select photos back to life by sharing them with you. Enter, the newly launched Tumblr site, "The Lively Morgue". Not only are they uploading "new" photos each week but you can get more in-depth details about some of them on the NYT's Lens Blog. The Times has even gone so far as to scan the back of each frame, for those of us who are interested in the publication dates, notes, credits and the like. It took 4 curators from the Museum of Modern Art, 9 months, poring over 3,000 subjects, while working with two Times editors, to get through only a 1/4 of the total images back in 1996. And despite the absurd amount of time it would take to sift through all those photos, I can't help but feel jealous of the people who get to go through all that history to dig up treasures for us.
June 20, 1965: “Young fans holding aloft bats they were given by the Yankees yesterday at the stadium,” read a caption the day after the team lost a double-header to the Minnesota Twins. The crowd, numbering 72,244, was the largest in four years, provoking the organist to serenade fans with the tune “We’re in the Money.”
Photo: Ernie Sisto/The New York Times
Sept. 3, 1959: “Late at night on West 46th Street, Patrolman Doherty, a policeman of the old school, surveys his beat — quiet now after a senseless double killing.” A 20-year-old man was charged with homicide four days after this photo was published. In the previous month, two 16-year-old boys had been killed at a playground on the West Side of Manhattan.
Photo: Sam Falk/The New York Times
Oct. 7, 1956: Yogi Berra’s hands were the focus of an article titled “Hands of Catchers Take Battering,” published five days after the photo was taken. “These catchers’ hands will win no beauty prize,” the reporter wrote, “but as functional implements they rate special awards.”
Photo: The New York Times
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