Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine

Chris Wild

Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine
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Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine

Chris Wild

Unexpected images selected by the curator of the popular blog The Retronaut take readers on a visual odyssey through an unfamiliar past; a place where crocodiles take children on walks, Queen Victoria is caught smiling, and consumers mull the pros and cons of electric sauna pants. Strap on your goggles and prepare to time travel with the Retronaut to the past as you’ve never seen it. A space suit for dogs. Munchkins enjoying a cigarette break on the set of the Wizard of Oz. Ku Klux Klan members taking a spin on a Ferris Wheel.


The famously dour Queen Victoria smiling. These images, and thousands more, make up the captivating world of the Retronaut, the internet’s most popular destination for vintage photography, where the past is as exciting as a visit to a foreign country in the words of Retronaut founder and chief curator Chris Wild. In this book, Wild has selected more than 400 of the best photographs for the site’s many eras and themes, mashing up Victoriana with vintage advertising from the 60s and 70s with amazing inventions like pants for cows and breast washers for women.

A launching pad for hours of conversation and a browser’s delight, the Retronaut is thought-provoking fun, and in the words of The Guardian: an emporium of retro treasure…from shocking sculptures of the 1700s, to Kodachrome snaps of 1950s Piccadilly Circus, to biblical scenes captured by Google Earth. Rather than nostalgia or folly, the aim is enlightenment, wonder and the pleasure of weirdness.

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