You know what always makes a great picture? Pole vaulters, that’s what.
This first shot is very early, probably 1916. I think it’s one of the five or six best images that I’ve come across in Rice’s collections. Do yourself a favor and click on it–it has a rare sense of immediacy, made all the more remarkable by the fact that it’s a scan off a glass plate. (This is from the batch that Rice photographer Tommy Lavergne brought in a couple of years ago.) It’s hard for me to look at it and not anticipate what must have been a difficult reconnection with the earth.
This next one is also undated, but from the look of the background I’d guess it was taken in the early 1930s:
And finally this one from the very late ’60s or early ’70s–even when they aren’t in the air they still manage to look interesting. Note that they finally have something softer to land on and that there had been some advances in pole technology: