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LIFE Magazine photos now on Google

Started by Bob Hudson , Nov 18 2008 08:15 PM

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#1 Bob Hudson

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:15 PM

One of the best sources of photos of all aspects of military life in WWII was LIFE magazine.

Google has now scanned two million of the 10 million photos in the LIFE archives and placed them online. You can also type in a keyword in the Google search box and then follow it with the phrase source:life - so if you wanted to see images of Patton you'd type in Patton source:life - when the results come up click the Google IMAGES button.

Here's showing the results when I used the search term Iwo Jima source:life http://images.google...G=Search Images

The life photos are outstanding and it is quite fun actually to just keep plugging in different keywords before the source:life phrase.

#2 Bob Hudson

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:23 PM

I plugged in the word "airborne" and got this one. This show the full photo and then an excerpt I copied when I clicked on the photo and got the enlarged version.

paratrooper.jpg

paratroopercu.jpg

#3 gwb123

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:32 PM

Holy Moley! This is going to be hours of entertainment. And you can purchase copies as well! I think my weekend just got booked!

#4 craig johnson

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:33 PM

Thanks. Within a minute I found what I like. Under "Machine Gun"

Posted Image

Craig

#5 Bob Hudson

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:39 PM

Thanks. Within a minute I found what I like. Under "Machine Gun"

Posted Image

Craig


What makes this a little surreal is that mostly when we have seen these types of photos they have been scanned from printed copies of the magazine and those are very low resolution with halftone dots. These scan are done direct from original prints (or perhaps negatives) so you can see details that may have been hard to discern in the magazine photos.

Here's a section of one of the machine gun photos at the larger size.

mg.jpg

#6 Bob Hudson

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 08:48 PM

This one is captioned

"Member of a US Marine battalion training with knife and brass knuckles.
Location: San Diego, CA, US
Date taken: 1943
Photographer: John Florea"

There are a bunch from this training series.

Again the standard size photo and an excerpt from the larger version:

marineknife.jpg

marineknifecu.jpg

#7 124cav

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 10:29 PM

I stumbled onto this when i searcged google images for Louisiana Manouvers

wow

#8 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 07:26 AM

FS, is there a list availiable of the various sources, such as "life"? It sure made searching easier.

#9 bobgee

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 08:25 AM

What a FABULOUS Resource. Hours of enjoyment! :D Thanks for posting!
Bobgee

#10 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 08:28 AM

FS, is there a list availiable of the various sources, such as "life"? It sure made searching easier.


I have not been been able to find any others using "source" and source:life really only works in the Google images, but there are some other filters. For instance if you wanted to find every one of this forum's EGA references that has been logged by Google you'd type in EGA site:usmilitariaforum.com or type in any other keyword or phrase followed by site:usmilitariaforum.com

#11 craig_pickrall

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 08:43 AM

After reading this thread last night I spent about an hour searching their records. I found many photos that I do not recall ever seeing in LIFE. There is one group in particular of USMC Raiders that have many interesting variations of uniforms and equipment. The pics were done in 1943 and rather than call them Raiders they were titled as USMC Rangers. The two search words I used to find these were UNIFORMS and HELMETS. I can see many hours spent at this site. Thanks for letting us know about this.

#12 dzandkw

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 08:47 AM

Neat refrence guide here White tounge patch and you can see all the battle stars. A neat find indeed thanks for sharing http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif


http://images.google...c4698e3bca35e10

#13 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 09:01 AM

After reading this thread last night I spent about an hour searching their records. I found many photos that I do not recall ever seeing in LIFE. There is one group in particular of USMC Raiders that have many interesting variations of uniforms and equipment. The pics were done in 1943 and rather than call them Raiders they were titled as USMC Rangers. The two search words I used to find these were UNIFORMS and HELMETS. I can see many hours spent at this site. Thanks for letting us know about this.


Cool - I looked that up: it's Jimmy Roosevelt's raider group training in San Diego.

I spend a lot of time searching military photos in Google images and with few exceptions there just has been nothing thus far to compare with these LIFE photos. Keep in mind that they have only scanned 20 percent of the library.

below another excerpt from a large photo:

Lt. Joseph Fournier of the US Marine Ranger Battalion wearing camouflage uniform.
Location: San Diego, CA, US
Date taken: 1943

raider1.jpg

#14 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 09:11 AM

By the way the word life has to be in lower case letters in the source:life phrase.

Just looked up that Raider Lt. in the above post. That's Lt Joseph A L Fournier, 4 Raider Bn (Company A), enlisted 8 May 1939, made Corporal by Sept. 1940. He KIA Sept.1944 on Peleliu Island while serving as CO of Company G, Second Battalion, First Marines. He was awarded the Navy Cross.

That photo really brings him back to life and that expression makes it look like he sees the future. RIP

#15 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 01:52 PM

I found many photos that I do not recall ever seeing in LIFE.


I just found out that 97 percent of the photos in the Life archives have never been seen by the public, so most of it never did make it into the magazine.

I just went through the Guadalcanal photos - I can only say that unless you were there, you have never seen any wartime images with this kind of detail and clarity. Most of us have at best seen war movies on TV which are basically low-resolution 640x480 images with quality far, far below that of photographs, but even the wartime photographs we have seen have been grainy magazine photos. The Life photos on google are in some cases five times larger than the TV images with even more detail than HDTV.

If you want to get an idea of really how good these are here's link to the large version of Christmas on Guadalcanal: it's too big to fit on most computer screen so you'll have to scroll round, but it really puts you in the picture, so to speak:

http://tinyurl.com/5l7chd

I suspect that the level in detail these archives may teach us something new - certainly we will see things that make us go - "Dang, I didn't know that."

Like I did when I saw this Marine guard outside the embassy in Nanking China in 1949: Ike jacket and helmet with EGA - not combo I've seen before.

MarineGuardNanking1949.jpg

#16 The Meatcan

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 02:24 PM

wow! like others here, I've spent a couple hours just wandering about the LIFE library. Astonishing to note, per FS, that over 97% of their photos have never been published before. This will be a treasure trove of great source photos for some time to come. Thanks for posting this! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#17 brandon_rss18

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:46 PM

lightning.jpg I LOVE this picture. Awesome info FS! I too am now hooked on this! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

#18 gwb123

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 04:09 PM

Interestingly, it appears that this archive does not include every photo that made it into the magazine.

My uncle appeared in a large photo published in LIFE I believe in 1943 while in New Guinea. Some Japanese prisoners had been brought to the rear, and he was part of a group of GI's that had gathered around to look them over. He was a cook at the time, and not along the front line, so seeing a Japanese soldier either alive or dead was something unusual.

I have been looking for that photo, or an on-line image of that for years.

Edited by gwb123, 19 November 2008 - 04:23 PM.


#19 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 04:15 PM

Interestingly, it appears that this archive does not include every photo that made it into the magazine.

My uncle appeared in a large photo I believe in 1943 while in New Guinea. Some Japanese prisoners had been brought to the rear, and he was part of a group of GI's that had gathered around to look them over. He was a cook at the time, and not along the front line, so seeing a Japanese soldier either alive or dead was something unusual.

I have been looking for that photo, or an on-line image of that for years.


So far they have scanned just two million of the 10 million photos in the archives.

#20 gwb123

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 04:23 PM

FS: not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but have you found an article on line that explains why they are doing this? I realize they have a link where they will sell you the photo, but it is still a very generous thing to do.

By the way, they also have Vietnam era photos posted on there as well.

#21 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 05:16 PM

FS: not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but have you found an article on line that explains why they are doing this? I realize they have a link where they will sell you the photo, but it is still a very generous thing to do.

By the way, they also have Vietnam era photos posted on there as well.


I think the motive for the owner of the Life archive is to sell some prints now and then. Google actually pays for all the scanning and they do it to drive more traffic to google. You can make some very nice 8x10 images using the images available through google but they will have the LIFE watermark on them, whereas ones order through LIFE would not.

What makes these photos so interesting is that they are not the almost staged or posed stuff from the Signal Corps or other official photographers nor the "back at camp" photos taken by individual GI's. The images just get right into the thick of it and provide an eyewitness viewpoint.

Here's one from Vietnam: this guy's face says it all and you would never see this in an official photo:

nam.jpg

#22 Salvage Sailor

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 08:55 PM

Excellent images, though not as much USN stuff.

Found some interesting shots

88th Division MP in Italy

USMC officer Pete Ellis, Amphibious tactics pioneer

USMC Bars

US Navy Tug Nacheninga, last US Ship to leave Shanghai China in 1949

Here's a tip for the early period WWII Medal & Uniform collectors......

type in Dimitri Medals or Dimitri Uniforms

Attached Images

  • 88th_Divsion_MP.jpg
  • USMC_Pete_Ellis.jpg
  • USMC_Bars.jpg
  • USS_NACHENINGA_last_to_leave_Shanghai_May_1949.jpg

Edited by Salvage Sailor, 19 November 2008 - 08:57 PM.


#23 Bob Hudson

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 09:14 PM

Excellent images, though not as much USN stuff.


If you type in ship names, naval battles, etc. quite a bit comes up. I found this sailor using the keyword naval: the caption is

Sicilian Naval Base-Gela
American sailor Saul Steinman at the market for mess for American Naval base during WWII
Location: Sicily, Italy
Date taken: 1943


sicilysailor.jpg

There's a fascinating one of Lexington survivors being pulled aboard another ship.

#24 Salvage Sailor

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 09:17 PM

Though this was the most poingniant set of photos I came across, taken at the close of the Korean Conflict.

Powerful images of a distraught GI being comforted by a USMC Chaplain

1. P.O.W. Exchange/Panmunjom
Army Pfc. John Ploch, one of the returned Americans who had not been reported a POW, sitting at table in dazed disbelief as he is processed during Korean War prisoner exchange at Freedom Village.
Location: Panmunjom, Korea
Date taken: May 1953

Attached Images

  • P.O.W._Exchange_Panmunjom_2.jpg

Edited by Salvage Sailor, 19 November 2008 - 09:18 PM.


#25 Salvage Sailor

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Posted 19 November 2008 - 09:17 PM

2. Visibly upset Pvt. John Ploch being comforted by Army chaplin after his release by North Koreans during prisoner exchange at Freedom Village.
Location: Freedom Village, Panmunjom, Korea (South)
Date taken: 1953

Attached Images

  • P.O.W._Exchange_Panmunjom_4.jpg



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