NewsWorks: Stuff We Like

Tracing Philadelphia’s past through fading ads

There is a ghost economy at work in Old City.  Hand-painted advertisements from a different era, faded to the point of hardly being there at all, emerge like apparitions during building renovations.

"The signs have been buried behind a brick wall, or a building, or stucco for however many decades, and all of a sudden it’s there again," said Lawrence O’Toole, author of the photography book "Fading Ads of Philadelphia." Sometimes it gets covered right back up and it’s only there for a couple weeks, or less."

O’Toole started taking photos of old advertisements painted on brick buildings as a thesis project 20 years ago, when he was a student at Drexel.

He was fascinated by the lettering and layout of the old signs, and how time had its way with them. That project turned into a blog, The Ghost Sign Project, and later, the book.

Zeitgeist 2012: Year In Review (by Google)

OK. So it’s an ad for Google. Let’s make no mistake about that.

It’s also fun to look back at the last year. As with any year, 2012 brought us countless things worth remembering. The accumulation of human experience keeps moving us forward. Here’s hoping there are enough servers to store it all.

Travel through time with this look at the history — and peek into the future! — of some pretty famous logos.

Travel through time with this look at the history — and peek into the future! — of some pretty famous logos.

Online home videos show happier times in Camden, N.J.

New Jersey’s most dangerous city recently tied its record for the most murders in one year when it recorded its 58th homicide on Nov. 2.

Home videos about Camden, N.J., now being posted online show a very different kind of city. Instead of depicting poverty and violence, they show idyllic scenes in Yorkship Village, part of the Fairview neighborhood from the 1950s and ’60s.

Michael Ruiz fondly remembers his childhood there and is posting the home videos his dad shot to give former residents and others a chance to see his old neighborhood.

Read more.

A look at photography before film — way before film.