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Unknown Photographer

Long-besieged, battered Stalingrad. Fresh Soviet Army troops move against a background of blasted structures to bolster defenses., October 1942
Vintage wire photograph on paper

Creation Place: Asia
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted Gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.923

This scene of long-besieged, battered and tattered Stalingrad is a symbol of great defense. It has caused the action on the shores of the Volga to be likened to the Verdun stand of World War I. Fresh Soviet Army troops move against a background of blasted structures to bolster defenses. The buildings are broken, but the Russian courage and defense line are not. Reports today indicate slight German gains, but Soviet reinforcements are coming in while the sting of Nazi thrusts grows less sharp, October 1942.

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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