Early 20th c. George Eastman House photos now on Flickr

The 1910 autochrome of medieval cosplayers, cropped above, and the monkey-on-a-rhino gelatin print below are in a set of early 20th century photographs from The George Eastman House, which has joined the flickr commons. I spotted this on photographer Raul Gutierrez' blog (a regular source of joy for me), and there he wrote:

Flickr Commons is a fantastic idea. My wish is that the whole thing could be taken further. Imagine an open source version of flickr dedicated to showing artwork and photography from public institutions in which users had the opportunity to contribute scholarly work or to group images into collections.

George Eastman House's photostream [Flickr]

I also loved this photo of Egyptian women in beautiful dresses; a woman in a fur throw with a corsage, and this stunning, simple portrait. Also, baby rhinos!


  1. I love old autochromes, it’s so cool seeing that era in color. You can see some more here and here and here and here. And scroll down to the bottom of this page for some color photos of Mark Twain! (slightly better version of one of them here)

  2. That photographer Raul color corrected the images he links to. Wow what a difference that makes.

  3. I have a personal (and professional) preference for the Monkey on the Rhino. Makes me feel like we’re tapping into some kind of semi-meme-ish undercurrent here.

    Way cool.


  4. Quick note:

    Color correction isn’t quite the appropriate term in this case.

    Our autochromes -are- color corrected, to match the original object.

    Chances are, even the day these were taken, they did not look like they are pictured above.

    As a matter of principle, George Eastman House is committed to publishing these images in as true-to-life fashion as we possibly can, color imbalances and all!

    Ryan Donahue
    Webmaster, George Eastman House

  5. “See, mom, cosplay has a long and dignified tradition.”

    “Well, yes, I know none of the guys died their hair purple, nor are they wearing dresses. Still… fine, if you won’t drive me to the con, I’ll take the bus.”

    “Yes, I did my homework.”

    “You will? Cool, can I get my allowance early, too? I know I look magical, but I don’t have any real powers. Yet.”

  6. Interesting pictures. They remind me of the recently published color photos from World War I. . . very old photos, but somehow eerily modern because we don’t expect them in color.

    One thing, though– “Cosplay” is not an appropriate term. For one thing the photo you used the term to describe predates the word by almost a century.

    That is as out of place as describing Edison’s wax cylinder recordings as CDs or Laurel and Hardy as video actors.

    Keep Cosplay for the kids trying to be Vash the Stampede at the Anime cons.

  7. That level of linguistic stringency is likely to cause significant problems for paleontologists.

  8. didn’t they call it masquerade and pantomine? Fancy dress? A costume party? Drawing room comedy?

  9. One of my prized photos is a picture of my late grandmother, circa 1928, dressed as a jester for some college theater production.

  10. Hello boingboing!

    It’s exciting to see the post about George Eastman House being added to Flickr Commons. Be sure to check out the Rights and Reproductions link. Proceeds go to the care and maintenance of the rare and huge photograph collection. Be sure to visit George Eastman House when you’re in Rochester. Call ahead for an appointment in the Print Collection viewing room.

    Barbara Galasso
    Collections Photographer
    George Eastman House
    900 East Avenue
    Rochester, NY 14607

  11. Such beautiful photos!!These photos help us to move in another age and show life of our ancestor. I like these photos

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