Playing Card production during the reign of Louis XIV.

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Is this an image of a librarian carefully reaching for a carefully placed book, carefully arranged in a carefully-odd Borgesian-style library housing only books of the same height and thickness?
Or is this a librarian in a Library of the Same Book, housing thousands of copies of copies of the same book, climbing the ladder to make sure that he had a copy of just the copy that was requested (“a copy held at least 5 feet from the ground, near a side window though not touching a vertical piece of wood”)?
Neither. These are shelves filled with nothing but uncut sheets of playing cards, housed for the playing card factory somewhere in Paris (?) “during the reign of Louis XIV”.
Playing cards, which were introduced to Europe via Marco Polo from China or traders coming from the Middle East or etc., are much older in Europe than one would think, I think, and by the time this print was made, playing cards were already quite popular there for two centuries.
I can’t identify all of the activities of all of the twelve tables of card preparation here, though some seem pretty obvious: the trimmer working near the pressman, the sorters and assemblers of decks of cards at the lower left corner, the paper preparer (?) just to the right of the man on the ladder, the pair of men preparing the type trays at middle-bottom, and that’s about it.
In any event I’m right or I’m wrong on this guess, about the same odds as being dealt “nothing” in a game of five-card poker (almost 1:1 odds), but that’s fine: I just like the composition of the print.
Read on via Ptak Science Books: Beautiful books.

19th Century Parisian Posters.

Advertising posters for the famous music-hall cabaret shows in Paris in the late 19th century.
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 Title: Folies-Bergère. La danse du feu [La Loïe Fuller]
Artist: Jules Chéret
Date: 1897
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 Title: Folies-Bergère. Les Trevally acrobates tous les soirs
Artist: F Appel (lithographer)
Date: 1890
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 Title: Folies-Bergère. Le plus nouveau spectacle. Le kangourou boxeur
Artist: F Appel (lithographer)
Date: 1895
See more Images via BibliOdyssey: Folies Bergère.

Organic Forest Sculptures in La Colle sur Loup.

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“I had been making sculptures with found materials in forests at different times over 10 years,” Spencer Byles told Bored Panda. “I felt I needed to concentrate on one large project and produce good quality photographs of each sculpture”
In an extraordinary act of devotion to his art, sculptural artist Spencer Byles spent a year creating beautiful sculptures out of natural and found materials throughout the unmanaged forests of La Colle Sur Loup (where he lived with his family), Villeneuve Loubet and Mougins.
He worked together with elements of his natural surroundings to create artwork that blends seamlessly with the environment.
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“I set out with no particular plan and had no expectation how it might evolve. I responded in different ways to each location and worked on at least 20 sculptures at one time. I worked spontaneously with out any drawings or planned design”
Byles’ project is intentionally secretive – the only way you’ll see these work short of his photos is by going into the woods and finding them yourself.
I imagine that coming upon such a fantastic structure unexpectedly in the woods is sure to be quite a magical surprise.
One of the most beautiful things about his work is its temporary nature.
The pieces were not intended to last, and each sculpture will eventually be reclaimed by the natural environment that helped Byles shape it.
This full circle gives the organic pieces a powerful poetic and philosophical touch.
Read on for Spencer Byles’ answers to Bored Panda’s questions about his work!
More info: frenchforestsculptures.blogspot.fr | Facebook (h/t: mymodernmet)
Read and See more via Artist Spent One Year In The Woods Creating Surreal Sculptures From Organic Materials | Bored Panda.

First Photograph of a Person, Paris, 1838.

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The photo above is a daguerreotype – the first publicly announced type of photograph.
The technology of its eponymous creator, Louis Daguerre, daguerreotypes were, relative to modern photography, slow.
It took over ten minutes for a concoction involving silver halide and mercury (and a lens) to take the viewed scene and turn it into a photograph. Anything which moved out of the frame during this period would, by and large, be invisible in the finished product.
For this reason, the early daugerreotypes — typically, streets of Paris (where Daugerre worked and lived) — lacked people, as they’d not stay still (or even know to) for the period necessary.
The first exception: the image above, of Paris’ Boulevard du Temple, taken in 1838. At the corner of the tree-lined street appears a man getting his shoes shined by a young man.
No one knows who the people depicted are, as at the time, the historic value of their identity was unappreciated.
The daguerreotype would be used for portraits in the future.
In fact, the first known photograph of Abraham Lincoln, seen here, was one.
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via Now I Know – The First Photograph of a Person.