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Unknown Photographer

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Londoners with their furniture and other belongings in an East End street at dawn, after a night air raid, September 1940
Vintage wire photograph on paper

Creation Place: Europe
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted Gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.570

Londoners, whose homes have felt the crushing pressure of total war from the air, are shown with their furniture and other household belongings in an East End street. This picture was made when dawn broke over the tortured British capital yesterday and brought another pause in the air bombings, but bomging resumed last night. Owners of this furniture faced the problem of finding new and habitable dwellings, a growing mass problem in England, September 1940.

Wire photographs were originally transmitted over phonelines, then later, by satellite. They were first used in the early 1920s. Associated Press became a leader with this. After pigment touch-ups, etc., the print is put into a drum (like a drum scanner). The image gets converted into audio tones that are transmitted. The tones are received and beamed onto photo-sensitive paper. Wire photographs are copies without originals---they are hybrid, transmitted objects. (Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head, Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 30-31, 2022)

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