The flipside of old New York Times photos

The New York Times recently launched a Tumblr to share old pictures from their newsroom archive. More exciting than the photos themselves, is the history recorded on the back of each picture.

The New York Times recently launched The Lively Morgue; a Tumblr to share old pictures from their newsroom archive (nicknamed “The Morgue”).

The photos are intriguing enough and certainly provide excellent fodder for reblogging and pinning enthusiasts, but what really makes this project worth a closer look is that each photo can be “flipped over” to inspect the back. What could possibly be of interest on the back of a photo you ask? Well, you would be surprised!

Layer upon layer of stamps, scribbled annotations and clippings offer a haphazard roadmap to the photo’s history. Things to look out for include subject codes, what the photographer was paid, details of when and how many times the photo was published and of course the accompanying captions.

Call me strange, but I find these way more exciting than the photos themselves:

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Back of picture from NY Times's archive

Read more about this project on the NYT Lens blog.

Author: Imar

Imar Krige is a professional graphic designer and typography enthusiast from Cape Town, South Africa.