Images of Absence and Presence in History

I vividly remember just one thing from reading Sartre in college, and that’s a few paragraphs about how an absence can become almost a presence–if you’re looking for a waiter named Pierre and you survey a crowd, you notice not the crowd, but the absence of Pierre.

This collection of old photographs wasn’t meant to highlight the absence of the children’s mothers, but it does. Especially the ones where you can see the parental legs just sticking out, like in the photo at left. Click on the link for more surreal vanishing-parent photos.

Meanwhile, this collection of old photographs (from the 1860s) shows that kids are pretty much the same now as they were then, they just wear different clothes and also get told to smile at the camera.

Here’s a more recent collection: Posters from the WPA. Is it me or do they stylistically resemble the iconography of the Soviets? I wish I knew more about graphic design so I could identify the precise style. (No, I’m not implying the WPA was communist.)

Would you visit a nuclear resort? Here are some images to whet your appetite, in that case. Come for the radiation, stay for the beach?

And even weirder, this is how Tokyo prevents floods. It has a science-fiction bunker for containing water. I’m not even kidding. This looks like a set from some sort of post-apocalyptic drama or a Michael Jackson music video.

And finally, I’m really glad I never ordered anything from a mail-order form in a comic book. Geez, what scams! It’s kind of fun to look at them all, though.

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