Phineas Gage

Posted in America, Daguerre, History of Photography, Photography by Rollfilm on September 10, 2009

Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage

Phineas P. Gage (July 9?, 1823 – May 21, 1860) was a railroad construction foreman now remembered for his incredible survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying one or both of his brain’s frontal lobes, and for that injury’s reported effects on his personality and behavior—effects said to be so profound that friends saw him as “no longer Gage.”

Long known as “the American crowbar case”—once termed “the case which more than all others is calculated to excite our wonder, impair the value of prognosis, and even to subvert our physiological doctrines” —Phineas Gage influenced 19th century thinking about the brain and the localization of its functions, and was perhaps the first case suggesting that damage to specific regions of the brain might affect personality and behavior.

Gage is a fixture in the curricula of neurology, psychology and related disciplines, and is frequently mentioned in books and academic papers; he also has a minor place in popular culture. Relative to this celebrity, the body of known fact about the case is remarkably small, so that historically it has been cited in support of mutually incompatible theories of the brain. A survey of accounts of the case has found that even modern scientific presentations are often exaggerated and distorted in significant ways, frequently contradicting the established facts.

Discovery of a daguerreotype portrait of Gage—”handsome…well dressed and confident, even proud,” and holding the tamping iron which injured him—was announced in July 2009 (see right). One researcher points to it as consistent with a “social recovery” hypothesis, under which Gage’s most serious mental changes may have existed for only a limited time after the accident, so that in later life he was much more functional, and socially much better adapted, than has been thought.


Albert Kahn Photograph collection

Posted in Books, History of Photography, Photography by Rollfilm on February 27, 2009


Albert Kahn, born at Marmoutier, Bas-Rhin, France on March 3, 1860, died at Boulogne-Billancourt, Seine, France on the night of November 14, 1940, was a banker and French philanthropist.

He was born into a Jewish family, one of 5 children of his parents, Louis and Babette Kahn.

In 1879 he became a bank clerk in Paris but studied for a degree in the evenings. His tutor was Henri Bergson who remained his friend all his life. He graduated in 1881 and continued to mix in intellectual circles making friends with Auguste Rodin and Mathurin Méheut.

In 1892 he became a principal associate of the Goudchaux Bank which was regarded as one of most important financial houses of Europe.

In 1893 he acquired a large property in Boulogne-Billancourt where he established a unique garden containing a variety of garden styles including English, Japanese, a rose garden and a conifer wood. This became a meeting place for French and European intelligentsia until the 1930s when due to the wall street crash Kahn became bankrupt, the garden was turned into a public park in which Kahn would still take walks. Kahn died during the Nazi occupation and so escaped deportation.

In 1909 Kahn travelled to Japan on business and returned with many photographs of the journey. This prompted him to begin a project collecting a photographic record of the entire Earth. He appointed Jean Brunhes as the project director and sent photographers to every continent to record images of the planet using the first colour photography, autochrome plates, and early cinematography. Between 1909 and 1931 they collected 72,000 colour photographs and 183,000 meters of film. These form a unique historical record of 50 countries, known as “The Archives of the Planet”.

Kahn’s photographers began documenting France in 1914, just days before the outbreak of World War I, and by liaising with the military managed to record both the devastation of war, and the struggle to continue everyday life and agricultural work.

He also promoted education at the highest level through travelling scholarships.

The economic crisis of the Great Depression ruined Kahn and put an end to his project.

Since 1986 the photographs have been collected into a museum at 14, Rue du Port, Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris, at the site of his garden. It is now a French national museum and includes four hectares of gardens, as well as the museum which houses his historic photographs and film.







These and many more images have been published  in “The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn”


Got to for more information and images.

Annie Leibovitz – A Photographer’s Life . 1990 – 2005

Posted in Art, Exhibition, Photography by Rollfilm on January 30, 2009

“A family album, a comprehensive exhibition, and a personal diary – Annie Leibovitz’s photographs from her private life and professional work merge seamlessly into a chronicle of the events, official commissions, and personal stories of the last fifteen years.

C/O Berlin presents “A Photographer’s Life” as first and only venue in Germany. The exhibition comprises a total of 200 photographs, many of them large-format works and monochrome landscapes, as well as a number of private family photos and small format black and white portraits.” [source: c/o berlin]

She is holding a lecture as well:

Annie Leibovitz
21.02.09 . 4 pm

To coincide with the Annie Leibovitz exhibition, C/O Berlin introduces the US-american photographer in a discussion. Annie Leibovitz will provide insight into her work, personal experiences, and views.

Annie Leibovitz, born in 1949 in Westport, Connecticut, USA, is one of the most important and influential portrait photographers worldwide. Covering both applied and artistic photography, the scope of her work is extremely broad. Along with her portraits, her photo documentaries and advertising campaigns for numerous American companies have achieved high acclaim. She attained international prominence in 1980, when she photographed John Lennon naked in bed with Yoko Ono – hours before his death. Leibovitz lives in the USA.

Pre-selling from 07.02.09 directly at C/O Berlin
No reservation
Admission 20 Euro . reduced 15 Euro

Sponsor American Express
Supporter audi . Wall . Dinamix
Ambassy of the United States of America
Media partner Vanity Fair . radio eins . zitty .



The Pink and Blue Project

Posted in Photography by Rollfilm on January 24, 2009

Jeong Mee Yoon’s “the pink and blue project” is the topic of her thesis. “This project explores the trends in cultural preferences and the differences in the tastes of children (and their parents) from diverse cultures, ethnic groups as well as gender socialization and identity. The work also raises other issues, such as the relationship between gender and consumerism, urbanization, the globalization of consumerism and the new capitalism.

The Pink and Blue Projects were initiated by my five-year-old daughter, who loves the color pink so much that she wanted to wear only pink clothes and play with only pink toys and objects. I discovered that my daughter’s case was not unusual. In the United States, South Korea and elsewhere, most young girls love pink clothing, accessories and toys. This phenomenon is widespread among children of various ethnic groups regardless of their cultural backgrounds. Perhaps it is the influence of pervasive commercial advertisements aimed at little girls and their parents, such as the universally popular Barbie and Hello Kitty merchandise that has developed into a modern trend. Girls train subconsciously and unconsciously to wear the color pink in order to look feminine.

Pink was once a color associated with masculinity, considered to be a watered down red and held the power associated with that color. In 1914, The Sunday Sentinel, an American newspaper, advised mothers to “use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention.” The change to pink for girls and blue for boys happened in America and elsewhere only after World War II. As modern society entered twentieth century political correctness, the concept of gender equality emerged and, as a result, reversed the perspective on the colors associated with each gender as well as the superficial connections that attached to them . Today, with the effects of advertising on consumer preferences, these color customs are a worldwide standard.” source: “The pink & blue project” – website.

SeoWoo and Her Pink Things

SeoWoo and Her Pink Things

SeoWoo and Her Pink Things 2

SeoWoo and Her Pink Things 2


Jake and His Blue Things


Yeachan and His Blue Things

More information and  photographs at the project’s website.

The LIFE photo archive

Posted in America, History of Photography, Journalism, Media, Photography by Rollfilm on November 28, 2008

The LIFE photo archive can be accessed online from now on. Google is hosting “millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.” [1]

Most of these images have a pretty good resolution – at least when it comes to images on the web.

Soldier holding tattered flag of the Eighth PA Infantry, during Civil War.

Soldier holding tattered flag of the Eighth PA Infantry, during Civil War.

A bedraggled Mrs. Bates cooking over a stove w. her cat eats fr. a can in the basement slum apt. she shares w. her husband at 210 E. 98th St.

A bedraggled Mrs. Bates cooking over a stove w. her cat eats fr. a can in the basement slum apt. she shares w. her husband at 210 E. 98th St.

Migrant mother Florence Thompson & children photographed by Dorothea Lange.

Migrant mother Florence Thompson & children photographed by Dorothea Lange.

Follow this link and have a look at the LIFE archive.