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Nostalgic images from Old Florida holidays, thanks to a master photographer

Last updated on May 5th, 2020 at 01:50 pm

Take a break. Stop rushing around and re-visit the holidays in Florida in the ‘50s.

It’s hard to imagine the world then – Florida before Disney; life before the Internet. But the photos of a Sarasota photographer, Joseph Janney Steinmetz, can help transport you.

The images on this page are photos by Steinmetz that his family donated to the Florida Memory Project, which has more than 180,000 digitized photographs from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Steinmetz moved his family from Philadelphia to Sarasota in 1942 and he photographed life there until his death in 1985, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

His collection is “without question the most significant photographic collection we’ve obtained,” Archives Supervisor Joanna Norman told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “The guy was a master photographer.”

Steinmetz’ work appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Time, Holiday, Collier’s and Town and Country, plus he did work for the Ringling Circus in Sarasota and state’s tourism office.

Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

 

Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

 

Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

 

Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project;

In order to appreciate the Steinmetz family Christmas cards below, you have to appreciate photo technology of the time.

Instead of images being manipulated in a computer via Photoshop, the artistry occured in the dark room or at the artist’s easel.

And if you start exploring to the Florida Memory Project, you can kiss your afternoon good-bye!

 

Before the days of Photoshop, such a picture could only be made by a darkroom whiz. Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

Before the days of Photoshop, such a picture could only be made by a darkroom whiz. Photo by Joseph Steinmetz via Florida Memory Project

Steinmetz family Christmas card for 1950. (Florida Memory Project)

Steinmetz family Christmas card for 1950. (Florida Memory Project)

 

Steinmetz family Christmas card for 1934. (Courtesy Florida Memory Project)

 

Steinmetz family Christmas card for 1942. (Courtesy Florida Memory Project)

 

Steinmetz family Christmas card for 1937. (Courtesy Florida Memory Project)

 

A portrait of photographer Joe Steinmetz for LIFE magazine’s “Pictures” column. (Courtesy Florida Memory Project)

From the Editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but can change without notice. Please confirm rates and details when planning your trip by following the links in this article.

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