History

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History Photography

A 102-Year-Old Transport Ship Sprouts a Floating Forest

June 3, 2013

Christopher Jobson

Homebush Bay in Sydney, Australia is home to the remnants of a ship-breaking yard that operated during the mid 20th-century. Large watercraft that outlived their usefulness were towed to Homebush Bay and dismantled to salvage any components that could be reused or sold for scrap.

One such ship was the SS Ayrfield, a 1,140-tonne behemoth built in 1911 as a steam collier that was later used during WWII as a transport ship. In 1972 it was brought to Homebush Bay to be dismantled, but fate would decide differently. Operations at the ship-breaking yard subsequently ceased and parts of several large vessels including the Ayrfield were left behind, the largest objects in an area now infamous for decades of chemical dumping and pollution. But only this century-old transport ship would be transformed by time into a floating forest, a peculiar home for trees and other vegetation that have since sprouted over the last few decades.

From 2008-2010 a concerted effort was made to remove many of the lingering chemicals in Homebush left from the industrial era. Not far away is the Brickpit Ring Walk, a former industrial site where nearly three billion bricks were made from 1911 through the 1980s that is now a carefully protected natural habitat. As the forest has grown inside the SS Ayrfield, the bay is now a popular place for photographers who wish to capture the uncanny sight of this strangely beautiful relic of the bay’s industrial past, not to mention nature’s resiliency.

A huge thanks to Bruce Hood, Andy Brill and Stephane & Eva for providing photos for this post. If you liked reading about the SS Ayrfield you might also like the Glass Beach in California. (via my modern met)

 

 



Design History Photography

The Floating Temple: How to Lift a Seven Million Pound, 112-year-old Building

May 17, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Something’s up in Provo, Utah and it weighs around seven million pounds. It’s the 112-year-old exterior of the Provo Tabernacle that was severely damaged in a 2010 fire but has since been saved by the LDS church so it can be converted into a temple. Engineers first gutted the damaged interior and then supported the exterior walls with special scaffolding as they dug down to create space for a two story basement, so in actuality the building hasn’t even moved. The entire structure is now on stilts some 40 feet in the air and from some angles appears to be floating above ground, such as in the first photograph above provided by Brian Hansen. Additional photos courtesy the LDS Newsroom.

 

 



History Photography

Happy End: Photos of Miraculous Airplane Crashes where All the Passengers Survived

April 23, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Dancing on Thin Ice, Happy End #9.1, Canada, 2012 / Bristol freighter broke through ice while landing in 1956, all survived.

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Bamboo in the Wine, Happy End #31.1, USA, 2012 / Cessna T50 bamboo bomber ran out of fuel in the 60s, all on board survived and walked over frozen river to Fort Yukon.

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The Scenic Route to Nowhere, Happy End #3.1, Mexico, 2010 / Grumman Albatross, no official report as used for drug trafficking, locals say all survived.

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Forces at Work, Happy End #2.1, Canada, 2010 / Douglas C3 stalled at take-off on skis in deep snow, all 6 survived. February 1950.

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Knock on Wood, Happy End #11.3, USA, 2012 / Fairchild C-82 with total electrical failure, all survived for three days at -50°F (-45°C).

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Passion is Rebel to Reason, Happy End #4.1, West Sahara, 2011 / Avro Shackleton Pelican, 25y SAAF, forced landing on flight to UK, all 19 saved by Polisario Rebels in July of 1994.

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Never Eat More than You Can Lift, Happy End #5.1, Canada, 2011 / Curtiss C46 Commando, nicknamed Mrs. Piggy as she could load so much freight, including pigs. All survived, 1979.

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Fuel of Life, Happy End #6.1, Canada, 2011 / Curtiss C46 Commando, lost engine power on a fuel run, all survived in 1977.

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Life is a Tide, Happy End #8.1, USA, 2012 / The pilot swam to shore with favorable tides in 1947 and is still alive 65 years later.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention this post made my palms sweat a bit while writing the details, but despite the unnerving visuals of these downed aircraft, each one of these photographs by Dietmar Eckell tells the story of a genuine miracle. In his series Happy End Eckell captures incredible moments in aviation history where planes went down and everyone walked away or was rescued shortly thereafter. Above are just a selection of photos, many more of which can be found over on his website, where you can also explore Eckell’s unceasing fascination with abandoned locations and objects. He’s currently raising money over on Indiegogo to print a 96-page book complete with 50 photos and accompanied by facts about each plane and the story of the survivors. (via laughing squid)

 

 



History Photography

Defrosting a Building: Otherworldly Icescapes Inside a Historic Chicago Cold Storage Facility

January 16, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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For nine decades Fulton Market Cold Storage Company operated in Chicago’s meatpacking district with a full ten stories of freezing storage situated close to major railways. Last summer the company decided it was time to start fresh in a state-of-the-art facility outside of Chicago, so the building was sold to SRAM, a bike component manufacturer who will use the space for its global headquarters. Architects Perkins + Will were hired to help convert the ice-encrusted space into a new, modernized office building and were also tasked with the most epic refrigerator defrost in history. Luckily photographer Gary Jensen was asked to snap some incredible photos prior to the thawing which was actually caught on video (sorry no embed). See more photos on his website. (via gapers block)

Update: The building owner is technically Sterling Bay and the architect of the conversion is Hartshorne and Plunkard. SRAM is a potential tenant in the building and Perkins & Will is their architect.

 

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History Photography

Composite Photographs Blend Scenes from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Present Day

September 4, 2012

Christopher Jobson

In this series of carefully photoshopped images, photographer Shawn Clover created composite photographs that blend historical scenes from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and his own present-day captures of the same locations. A number of other artists have created similar images, most notably Sergey Larenkov’s Ghosts of WWII, but Clover really seems to have put in extreme amounts of effort in trying to determine how each photograph precisely overlaps the other, resulting in some fascinating interactions between past and present. Clover’s work is broken into two parts, Part 1 was created in 2010 and Part 2 was completed just last month. (via Laughing Squid)