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I am a huge fan of the Flickr Commons Project.

I have published on The Hidden Gems of Flickr Commons for Wired‘s photography blog Raw File.

For their documents of (early) 20th century fishing & skiing; industry & leisure; mountains and deserts of the Pacific Northwest, my favourite institutions are The Oregon State University and the Commons’ newest member, The University of Washington!

I have always been taken by the photographic sets out of the London School of Economics. The LSE archive has great emphasis on its department faculty; administrative staff; extra-curricula activities; student events; laboratory tableaux; campus vistas; college anniversaries; and guests of the famed school. It’s an archive with a likable and unpretentious institutional identity.

The LSE Library set contains dozens of portraits of the library scientists and staff.


Sunday night/Monday morning (depending on your seaboard) was the point in which my first professionally recognized byline hit the internets.

The piece, Hidden Gems From the Flickr Commons, is a walk through my Wired’s personal favourites. The crux of my pitch to Wired was that we all need to get out from under the mass-consumed images of the FSA/OWI archives.


Wired’s new blog Raw File deals specifically with photography and is marshaled by a close friend Keith Axline. Keith held out a hand and gave me a finite amount of time to grab hold. I’m glad I didn’t pass up the opportunity.

There’ll be more to come in the future. And I’ll probably force it down your necks again. If you’ve seen me relentlessly plug Raw File material these past few weeks on my Twitter stream, you now know why.


Top Image: Screenshot

Middle Image: Canthigaster rostrata, Inflated (Caribbean Sharp-Nose Puffer), Belize Larval-Fish Group 2005, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute Collection.  Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro 12.3-megapixel camera with a 105-millimeter f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor lens and dual Nikon SB28 flash units. (Source)

Bottom Image: Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in cage at Lincoln Park Zoo. 1900. Original size and material: 4×5 inch glass negative. Field Museum Collection – Digital Identifier: Z80007 (Source)


A couple of months ago, I wrote about the prison convict ship Success and its repurposing as a museum ship in the early 19th century. At that time, I featured a couple of images of the ship docked in Seattle and Tacoma. To continue from that visual anchor (pun intended), I’d like to share these few close up images of this unique and long-gone “Museum Ship of Colonial Horrors” (as I like to refer to it).


3029429307_4c6c2ec7d1The accoutrements of abuse on display are chilling. The international seafaring exhibit was an old British and latterly Australian ship used for deportation of ‘criminals’ during Victorian times and for non-human commodities thereafter.

I wonder what sort of museological interpretation of Success was given to American audiences? Would this have been kept in a separate narrative to the slavery ships of the Atlantic or would all histories be foisted into one macabre reductive appreciation of the ‘Other’?


3029428449_3f46a11ca91When I saw the iron jacket I was terrified, but then I read Wystan‘s description of the Wooden Maiden:

If you were very naughty, you might be asked to remove your clothing and climb inside this vertical coffin, where of course it was pitch dark, there was no water, and fresh air was scarce. Then the box (which was clad in sheet iron) would stand in the hot sun until you got nice and warm. But you wouldn’t want to slump or faint, because then your bare flesh might get snagged on the ends of the long nails that had been pounded into it from random directions . . .


All images from the Library of Congress on Flickr,

and searched out through Flickr Commons.


prisonphotography [at] gmail [dot] com

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