Here are some 9x12 glass-plate negative copies from 1924, showing the country life in small villages at the border to the Czech Republic in the north of Austria. It was a hard time back then, because in 1924 the currency system changed and the inflation rate was 1:14.000. But the people look to be content with that simple life without electricity, telephone and cars. I wonder what kind of song the musicians ( 1926 ) in the last picture played, maybe a Bohemian melody...
Has photography really progressed in terms of the final result in the eighty five years or so since these photos were taken?
I wonder if any of those pictured are still alive. One or two of the little ones might be, but they would have seen plenty of turmoil in their lifetime. I know the Marx Brothers (bottom photo) are now all gone. Or, perhaps they were Queen and were rehearsing Bohemian Rhapsody.
Wonderful pictures, Mik. Any idea what the camera was or did you just find the plates in a flea market? How did you date them to 1924?
You mention inflation in that year. I believe that was the year the Schilling replaced the Krone, and the introduction of the Rentenmark in Germany, both in an attempt to stabilise the currency and stop hyperinflation. Many people found their life savings virtually worthless.
Getting back to the pictures, in those days the plates would have been orthochromatic emulsion, but the insensitivity to red doesn't notice.
The orchestra of guitar, two mandolins and a button accordion must have sounded great!
In 1924 I assume that this picture was taken with flash powder, and the even spread of light is amazing. Obviously an experienced photographer who judged the amount of flash powder just right. Judging from the shadows the flash was held quite high to the right - or it may have been bounced off a large reflector.
Photographers in those days used techniques that are almost forgotten these days. They had to because of what we would now regard as technical shortcomings of their equipment.
But their results stand up to comparison with those of today's "advanced" equipment. They just took a lot more trouble over each shot than most of us do today.
I have a copy of an 8x6 photo of my grandfather and uncle taken I would think in the late 1920s or early 30s. The original photo is pin sharp. I scanned it on the reasonable resolution. Then on a higher resolution: then a section of it on the highest I could. The detail just kept coming. I don't know how many megapixels the original negative/plate would represent, but certainly far more than anything around today can deliver.
Have many thanks for your kind comments. I have many boxes full of glass-plates, I guess they are a several hundred. From time to time you find them at local flea-markets for ca. 1.- a box ( or less ), because nobody else seems to want them. After some cleaning and putting a silica-gel pack in the box, they are nearly everlasting. Some of the plates are individual wrapped in paper, on which the photographer wrote information about the year, the object and details for developing. For Instance: 1926, Vienna, 6 candles, 12 seconds, Ridax paper. Peter you are right, they are copied from “orthochromatic” plates. The inflation rate had been a good deal worse in Germany. My grandfather kept a “ One Billion Mark” note from 1924 as a reminder of these days. He told me, that you got a loaf of bread in exchange for this note…