A few years back, Google began scanning the collection of Life Magazine images and posting them online. As long as the photos are not used for commercial use, download and print is free game. While I have not tried, rumor has it the images are such that you can print to 8×10 (but with a “Life” watermark in the lower right corner). For free, I won’t complain!
For this particular post, I’m going to write a bit about trying to find X-2 photos in the Life collection – there are actually a ton of them.
The challenge is Google’s search for Life images isn’t good and I believe it is because the images are poorly labelled and categorized – many times there is no data and when there is, it is unusably generic.
The set of X-2 images were taken by photographer Loomis Dean for what would be the June 18, 1956 “Air Age” issue of Life. And… I just realized I don’t have a copy of the particular issue to see what is in the article!
The X-2 images are searchable by “X-2 Air Age”, so that helps. There are two sets of images: color and black and white. From what I’ve been able to tell, you can’t get to the color from the black and white search and vice versa.
To make things a bit easier, use the below searches to get started:
To navigate from photo to photo, click on “Related Images” on the right.
I show around 300 unique images from my downloads, but I know there are some duplicates. Some images are also color and black and white. I’ve skipped saving images that are blurry or “what is that?” quality (they must scan everything!). Some of the more well known names spotted in the images include Pete Everest, Iven Kincheloe, Mel Apt, Bell engineer R.G. Lapp, and Fitz Fulton.
As far as when the photos were taken, there’s two clues:
- Getty Images website – March 1, 1956 noted for Dean’s R.G. Lapp image, also seen in the Google Life series. In my notes, March 1956 included nine test stand runs.
- Chalkboard image noting “Flight # 1_56.” I’m unable to find anything that matches that group of numbers, just “56.” There is TSR-56, April 27, “checkout of relocated fuel sense line.” Ideas? (See image below)
If anyone finds an easier way to navigate through the collection, please let me know! I’ve learned that if you go back to the search over time, more photos appear. I can only guess that as they’re scanned, they appear online.
Below are some of the more unique images that I’ve found so far:
Flight # 1_56