– August 6, 2021
An important part of my searches for free radicals in the image archive of loc.gov is Detroit Publishing Co. Here I was mostly interested in the 8 x 10” glass negatives, which to my surprise almost always ended up in the archives anonymously. Early twentieth-century images betray great respect for metropolitan developments and economic progress. But no matter how much the detailed image pictures the powerful and vertical volumes, symbolizing the élan of megalomaniac thinking and the American Dream, my eye is always drawn to seemingly insignificant details at the street level. Thanks to the high resolution of large-format negatives (at loc.gov scanned up to 150 MB) one can discover unsuspected details. Through the cutting out of details without initially showing the entire image, we learn about the dazzling versatility and dynamic stratification of the historical photograph in high resolution. Such a visual exercise forces the adjusting and stretching of our conditioned perception.