Thought for the day

"The first panacea of a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permeant ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists." -- Ernest Hemingway

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These intriguing photographs, taken by photographer Charles Percy Pickering between 1863 and 1868, show the ability of wine to turn a well-meaning citizen into a staggering wreck. In five pictures, an honest, dignified gentleman slowly gets drunk in a wheelbarrow.

 

The set of photographs are believed to be staged, educational photographs probably commissioned by a local sobriety group in New South Wales, Australia.

 

Abstinence advocates encourage citizens to be teetotalers, a term describing people who abstain from alcohol altogether.

 

The New South Wales State Library website explains, "Possibly commissioned by a local sobriety group for educational purposes, the photographs may also have been used by an engraver for the illustrations. The final frame of Drunk in a Wheelbarrow S. Looks like .T. Gilles Watercolor 'Ease Without Opulence', 1863."

 

The images are examples of albumen print photographs. Invented in 1850 by Louis Desire Blanquart-एvard, this technique used albumen (literally egg whites) to bind photosensitive chemicals to paper where they could be exposed and developed. This was how most photographs were printed until the 1920s.