Pick your poison: historical photographs rendered in glorious color? Conceptual playground design? Websites devoted to compiling urban planning data? How about time lines amassed from the archives of Life magazine? Read on for more online fascinations from the Dwell crew.
Michele: America in Color from 1939-1943
Walker Evans's stark, iconic black-and-white images of the Great Depression were displaced ever so slightly in my heart this week by this soaring collection of rare, in-living-color photographs from the same time. Shot under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration (and exhibited by the Library of Congress in 2006), these are vital, affecting glimpses of America as revealing and relevant in 2010 as they were more than a half-century ago.
Miyoko: Life.com Timelines
Life magazine has always been known for its photos that have documented how Americans live. This week Life.com launched Timelines, which gives readers access to the 10-million-plus photo archive and lets them create unique slideshows with the images and their own headlines and captions. The current selection of user-submitted timelines include a motley bunch that range from a brief history of fast food in America to a slideshow of notable hats of the last year to a set of blimps and dirigibles. Life, however, has curated a number of thoughtful timelines, like the , which captures milestones in the building's history like it's monumental completion, its inclusion in King Kong, the addition of flood lights, and the first annual Foot Race. With so many images at your disposal, the only problem will be narrowing down your picks.
Well, this is pretty remarkable. Justin Quinnell took these images with pinhole camera exposed over a period of six months, from the winter solstice 2007 to the summer solstice of 2008. According to the Strange Attractor, Quinnell attached simple coke can devices to telephone poles to get the moody shots. Very Van Gogh Starry Night. Neato.
Grace: Warby Parker Eyewear
I've been a 20-hours-a-day-in-my-contact-lenses type of girl, not only because the optometrist's office has a limited selection but also because there's literally three places I can go, and they all have the same selection. Enter Warby Parker, the Toms of the eyewear world. I can upload my photo to the website to see what fits virtually, or order multiple pairs to try at home. Free shipping, free returns and my purchase includes prescription lenses (function AND fashion at just $95 for every pair). I also really love the mock Brady Bunch "Meet the Founders" photos.
Before I sing the praises of Wendell Cox, founder of the website Demographia, let me alert my fellow liberals out there that Cox is conservative planning pundit who usually comes down on the side opposing density, smart growth, light rail, and all the other things that we could use to keep our cities more viable. That said, the man has amassed a boatload of data about transit and urban planning in America and abroad. Demographia is a staggeringly large resource, and though you may not draw the same conclusions as Cox (I hope you don't), you may very well find ways to bolster your case based on his data. I recently had a chat with Angeleno planner and architect Doug Suisman and he told me he's more than once relied on Cox's data to argue for density, transit, and the combatting of sprawl.
Jaime: Photographer David Zimmerman
Since we're in the midst of a chilly, foggy San Francisco summer, this image by the photographer David ZImmerman is both a frustrating tease and a vicarious pleasure. Check out his online gallery for other birdseye images of groups: of dumpsters, beach-goers, junked cars, and rooftops in India and Albuquerque.
One of my favorite blogs, Playscapes, turned me on to the work of the late Dutch artist and architect Constant Nieuwenhuys this week. The post, which focused on his playground concepts, led me down a rabbit hole to a number of interesting articles about his work, and his visions for the future of the urban landscape. If only I had an extra $1,000 (!) to buy a hardcover of the 1999 book, Constant's New Babylon, a dreamy tome dedicated to his ideas about architecture and humanity.