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The Late 20th Century in 45,000 Photos (and Counting)

Eastern Airlines

Nick DeWolf was an engineer and an entrepreneur who co-founded a technology firm, but he also was a prolific amateur photographer. His son-in-law Steve Lundeen has taken on the job of archivist and has posted 45,000 of DeWolf's photos on Flickr. They are an awe-inspiring and powerful trip through the latter half of the 20th century.

Lundeen, who has been uploading the images since 2006 and adds a few dozen more nearly every day, writes that DeWolf left behind "many thousands of pre-digital images" that date back to the 1950s. "He carried a camera with him at all times, usually a family of cameras. If you knew Nick, you got used to this ... eventually, he'd be pointing his camera at you," Lundeen says.

Boston skyline

The photos are a trip through DeWolf's life, passions and side interests. The subjects are all over the place, including the offices of Transitron and Teradyne; early integrated circuits; trips to Cape Cod, Las Vegas, Europe and Hong Kong and places in between; mid-1970s yoga classes; college football and pro hockey games; family life; sailing; a loving pictorial of a 1954 Mercedes Benz 300; bullfighting in Tijuana; and even late-life trips to Burning Man.

It's easy to get lost in the images. Perhaps because they are so mundane and shot by an amateur — an extraordinarily talented amateur at that — the photos transport the viewer to a different time and place. By documenting so completely for so long, DeWolf offers windows into not only his life, but fashion, politics and a half century of technological progress.

[Via Flickr blog]


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