Tag Archives: Photography

For Cubs, Error Mars Mural

The first line of this Associated Press story is perfect:

“Even by the standards of the woeful Chicago Cubs, this was an unusual error.”

The AP was right. Last month the team revealed that a 1927 photograph of Charles Lindbergh included in a new mural at Wrigley Field was actually an image of the famous aviator at Comiskey Park, then the home of the Chicago White Sox.

From the AP:

Team spokesman Julian Green said the photograph of the triumphant Lindbergh was incorrectly labeled as photographs were gathered to mark the anniversary season. The mistake was first noticed by a blogger and the Cubs soon concluded that the scene depicted the South Side home of the White Sox, not the North Side home of the Cubs.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that the caption of an image of Franklin D. Roosevelt at Wrigley Field–taken before he was elected–describes him as the President. “We are now reviewing all of the photos,” Green told the AP.

These errors shouldn’t spark outrage, but it’s disappointing to see a franchise with such rich, interesting history neglect to fact check. Doing so may take time and effort, but it will end up preventing situations like this one.

When It Comes to Photo Research, Accuracy And Attribution Matter


Our photo researchers spend countless hours tracking down and licensing images from all over the world. It’s their job to make sure whoever shot the photograph receives proper credit, no matter how obscure the photo is. Needless to say, it’s been interesting watching the proliferation of Twitter accounts dedicated to historical photographs. Rebecca Onion of Slate recently tackled the issue. In addition to the fact that many of the feeds—like, for example, @HistoryInPics—feature remarkably similar streams of photographs, some of the accounts seemingly are unconcerned with accuracy and attribution. This, as Onion explains, is quite disturbing:

In recent weeks, the attribution practices and accuracy of these feeds has become a source of consternation around the Web. Gizmodo blogger Matt Novak published a series of posts pointing out that many of the most-retweeted photos (Nikola Tesla as a swimming instructor; JFK and Marilyn Monroe cuddling) are fakes. The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal tracked down the proprietors of the most-followed history pic account, @HistoryInPics, and learned that they aren’t much interested in where their images come from (“around the Internet”) or in providing any kind of attribution. Sarah Werner, digital media strategist at the Folger Shakespeare Library, posted a heartfelt plea to readers of her blog, asking them to leave the historical pictures accounts behind. The post has had its own share of viral success.

The Internet is an incredible resource for history and photography buffs. There are millions of images and documents available. But sifting through it all isn’t easy, especially when so many sites and social media accounts don’t adhere to rigorous standards. And if certain images are fake or not properly attributed, it’s not just web surfers who suffer. The practice robs photographers of the recognition they deserve.

So, if you enjoy history and you spend time on the Internet, be very careful. It may be fun to peruse something like @HistoryInPics, but you may not be getting what you came for. After all, if the stated purpose of a Twitter feed is to showcase photographs from history, the content on display should be historically accurate.

Finding Images At The End Of The World

Cellulose nitrate negatives, <a href=

At PhotoAssist, we specialize in tracking down obscure images. Over the past two decades, we’ve helped secure hundreds of thousands of photographs—but sometimes finding a picture literally requires going to the ends of the Earth.

Last month, the Antarctic Heritage Trust of New Zealand announced that it had found century-old negatives. The images were made during the Ross Sea Party, an expedition led by polar explorer Ernest Shackleton that lasted from 1914 to 1917. The negatives were in a box inside a hut originally used by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, who led an Antarctic voyage in the early 1910s.

In the newly released Secret Life of Walter Mitty remake, the title character, played by Ben Stiller, goes on a global mission to track down a missing photographic negative. But even that story isn’t quite as fantastic and unlikely as this one.

It was an amazingly rare find. As the Heritage Trust explained:

The negatives were found in expedition photographer Herbert Ponting’s darkroom and have been painstakingly conserved revealing never before seen Antarctic images.

The Trust’s conservation specialists discovered the clumped together cellulose nitrate negatives in a small box as part of the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project, which has seen more than 10,000 objects conserved at Scott’s Cape Evans hut.

The negatives yielded 22 images, including one of Shackleton’s chief scientist, Alexander Stevens, standing onboard the Aurora. It was an impressive outcome, especially considering the negatives are about 100 years old. (Not to mention the fact that they were stored in brutally cold conditions.)

If anything, the find proves that with ingenuity, and in this case, a little bit of luck, you can make new discoveries in the unlikeliest of places. Even if it means going to the South Pole to do so.


Beyond Stamps

Philatelic Product Image

During the two decades we’ve worked with the U.S. Postal Service, PhotoAssist has collaborated on the development of hundreds of postage stamps. But our relationship with USPS extends beyond stamps. In the past few years alone, we’ve helped create many philatelic products that showcase our design and editorial skills. Here’s a sampling of our work:

  • The Grandest Things, a comprehensive 116-page book about America’s national parks. The story of our country’s most precious natural treasures is fascinating. The photography alone is stunning.
  • A Century of Dance, a 32-page booklet that celebrates choreographers such as Katherine Dunham and Bob Fosse.
  • Twentieth-Century Poets, note cards, which highlight the work of 10 American poets, including Elizabeth Bishop, E.E. Cummings, Sylvia Plath, and William Carlos Williams.
  • Play Ball! A Celebration of Baseball’s Greatest Moments, a 40-page softbound book that features the artwork of Graig Kreindler, whose remarkably detailed paintings pop off the page.

If you like what you see, give us a shout. Our writers and researchers are here to help.