Artist Kevin Weir takes photographs from the collection of the Library of Congress online archive and converts them to animated GIFs. The result is somewhat steampunky, and very eerie. Some of them remind me of Terry Gilliam’s animations from Monty Python’s Flying Circus (which is not necessarily a bad thing…).
The results are thought provoking and definitely worth the time to scroll through them.
An American academic at Georgetown University, Kalev Leetaru, has started amassing what will ultimately be 12 million historic public domain images.
Located on flickr, the Internet Archive Book Image currently has 2.6 million images–photographs, graphics, maps, music, advertisements, bits of illuminated manuscripts–all downloadable copyright-free. The images date from ca. 1500 to 1922 (when copyright restrictions begin). The images are also searchable.
Some examples I found interesting on the first few pages of the archive. I have a feeling that I’ll be perusing this site regularly.
For Fun Friday, I won’t get into the debate over the proper pronunciation of GIF (hard G!), but I will post a link here to a collection of some fun GIFs made using some Steampunk artwork from the Smithsonian Institution’s collection. The Smithsonian Libraries tumblr page has all sorts of graphic goodness.
A link to Illustrator Linley Sambourne’s depiction of the Great Science Fairy for the 1899 book The Water Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby by Charles Kingsley. Interesting that she seems to be steam-powered.
If you’re not familiar with the website Retronaut (and you really should be), it’s a collection of all manner of vintage photographs and illustrations spanning millenia. One can easily spend vast amounts of time perusing this site!
The site recently featured a number of beautiful colored engravings on scientific topics by John Philipps Emslie, a Victorian age illustrator. I find his work beautiful and strangely modern in the methods he uses to impart information. Reproduced above is his Diagram of Meteorology. Retronaut has a couple of collections of his work.