The New York Times' "Lively Morgue"


The New York Times files away old photographs in a subterranean archive dubbed the morgue. This has been going on for decades. Finally the the morgue has gone online and rebranded itself as "The Lively Morgue" (after all, it's full of some really nice, non-dead stuff -- despite being located in a sub-sub-basement). Their Tumblr site highlights some of the best finds -- truly beautiful photography spanning the past century. Here are some statistics, via their Tumblr's "About" page (emphasis added):

How many [pictures do we have]? We don't know. Our best guess is five million to six million prints and contact sheets (each sheet, of course, representing many discrete images) and 300,000 sacks of negatives, ranging in format size from 35 millimeter to 5 by 7 inches -- at least 10 million frames in all. The picture archive also includes 13,500 DVDs, each storing about 4.7 gigabytes worth of imagery. When the Museum of Modern Art set out to exhibit the highlights of the Times archive in 1996, it dispatched four curators. They spent nine months poring over 3,000 subjects, working with two Times editors, one of whom spent a year on the project. In the end, they estimated that they'd seen only one-quarter of the total. If we posted 10 new archival pictures every weekday on Tumblr, just from our print collection, we wouldn't have the whole thing online until the year 3935.

This short film shows you how The Lively Morgue works, discusses its history, and gives you a glimpse inside. Take a peek:

Now look at the photos.