Is there a photo of Marilyn Monroe that you haven’t seen? The answer is yes and it’s on Retronaut, a wildly impressive digital collection of rarely seen historical pictures curated by a small team of technologists in Oxford, England. Want to see Leonard Bernstein and his daughter at a Beatles concert? Jay-Z, aged 18, driving around London in a Mercedes-Benz in 1988? A long-haired Billy Joel in his first band Attila (1970)? How about Queen Elizabeth II firing a battle rifle (1993)?
Retronaut isn’t all about celebrity. Photos can be viewed by years, subjects, and collections like Cheerleader Catalogues (1980s, big hair) and Children’s Records (1950s, 1960s, creepy). And if you don’t want to spend the whole day surfing around in Retronaut space, you can follow the curators on Twitter where they post one historic picture on the hour, every hour. Any if that’s not enough to curb your appetite for the curious: pick up a copy of Retronaut: The Photographic Time-Machine, to be published by National Geographic, fall 2014.
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