WASHINGTON (July 3, 2014)—Photographs serve as mementos from our favorite moments — but photos also have the power to change the way we think about history. This fall, Chris Wild, creator of the Internet sensation Retronaut.com, which attracts more than 1 million viewers each month, will show you the past like you’ve never seen it before with his new book from National Geographic, RETRONAUT: The Photographic Time Machine (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1426213830, Sept. 2, 2014; hardcover; $28).
RETRONAUT (which to Wild means “someone who travels back”) includes more than 300 photographs that capture the essence of the Retronautic experience by showing us the past through different lenses. The images often contradict our fixed view of what the past was like by unveiling something unexpected, out of place, jarring, amusing or poignant.
Organized by themes such as “Icons Unmade,” “The Power of the Trivial” and “Alternative Realities,” the images in RETRONAUT take us back in time and change the way we think about iconic events, things, people and places. Among the many glimpses into the past are photographs of:
- Martha Stewart as a fashion model in the early 1960s;
- The real Von Trapp family in the 1940s;
- Author Beatrix Potter and her pet rabbit in 1890;
- Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham as college students at Yale in 1972;
- An invitation to the 1911 launch of the Titanic;
- A worker scaling down the nose of George Washington on Mount Rushmore around 1935;
- Ronald Reagan modeling for a sculpture class in 1940;
- North Korea’s Kim Jong II about to go on a ride at an amusement park in 1977;
- The construction of the Statue of Liberty in 1883; and
- Thirteen-year-old Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia taking a selfie in the early 1910s.
The book’s afterword gives readers a Retronautic peek at the National Geographic photo archive, which Wild says is “possibly the greatest collection of photography in the world.” This chapter contains rarely seen images, such as a photo taken before archaeologist Howard Carter entered the inner chamber to Tutankhamen’s shrine for the first time.
Enriched with Wild’s unique wit and oddball knowledge, RETRONAUT is a quirky page-turner and a must-have for collectors of the unusual.
About Chris Wild
Chris Wild is a blogger and creator of the website Retronaut, a “photographic time machine” that allows people to access millions of pieces of historical content, including videos, pictures, music and text, from public and private archives. It is a passport into history where people can pick their own entry point (be it people, places or objects) and take a fascinating, interconnected journey back in time. Wild is currently guest curator at Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives, England.
About National Geographic Books & Home Entertainment
National Geographic Books & Home Entertainment creates and distributes books, videos and other print and digital media that inform, engage and entertain diverse audiences about our world. Annually, the group publishes more than 125 new books for adults, families and kids and releases 250+ new DVDs and digital downloads of the Society’s films and TV shows, and these National Geographic titles are available in more than 35 local-language editions. While special photographic and film collections, travel books, nature shows, birding guides and atlases are a core focus of the Society’s products, books and videos on subjects as diverse as animals, the human mind, history, world cultures and the cosmos are also produced. For more information, visit facebook.com/NatGeoBooks and nationalgeographic.com/books.