Thursday, 24 September 2009

LIFE Online


LIFE magazine has always had a special place in the history of photojournalism. During it's long history, the magazine employed some of the best photographers in the world, and as such, the photography was always one of the magazine's big strengths. Until now, finding issues of this classic magazine was difficult, but fortunately Google have recently scanned over 1800 issues of the magazine, dating from 1936 to 1972, and placed them all online to view.

Even seventy three years on from the very first issues, LIFE offers a superb reading experience. I have to admit that the 1930's and 1940's are my favourite eras of history, so that's where i started my viewing. The magazines from this period manage to pack in a good mix of human interest stories, fashion, world news, movie news and celebrity gossip. The adverts are also hugely entertaining. Keep an eye out for the surprisingly suggestive Chesterfield cigarette ads that feature regularly during the World War II years.

Google have done a great job here. The quality of the scans are excellent, capturing all the page detail of the originals. Flicking through the pages really does feel like travelling back in time, so much so that you can get quite caught up in the period. The superb LIFE magazine archive is well worth a visit if you're a photographer, budding historian or just crazy about old magazines.

The website can be found HERE

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