Long-time LUNA software client, the New York City Municipal Archive (NYCMA) embarked on a project with Luna’s Imaging Services team to digitize 720k nitrate negatives from 35mm still camera film spliced together onto 1000-foot reels.
The best photographs don’t tell the whole story, but instead provide hints that kick start the imagination and encourage it to build its own story. For the casual viewer of the New York City Municipal Archive photo collection there are thousands of such hints that do exactly that. The original targets of the project, the taxable buildings and properties of the five boroughs of New York City, are interesting themselves, but it’s the images of the people who have accidentally stumbled into the camera’s frame that are the truly fascinating gems. The clothing, the hair styles, the faces… this is is the real 1940’s. It’s the undiluted human honesty of the unplanned. As one looks at these moments in time, these imperfect souls from a different era, accidentally caught on the periphery by the camera’s lens, the imagination can not help but weave life stories around these involuntary time travellers.