University of Pittsburgh

04/18/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/18/2024 05:49

See 1950s Pittsburgh through this alumnus' lens

See 1950s Pittsburgh through this alumnus' lens

April 18, 2024By
"Paper, Paper, Git Your Paper Here!": Newsboys and patrons on Terrace Street at Pitt Stadium. Oct. 10, 1953. Photography by Michael Rosella, except as noted

"Here, take this and go shoot the spring festival," the upperclassman tells Michael Rosella, putting a camera around the 19-year-old's neck.

Rosella, a member of the Pitt Photo Club, feels anointed. The older student, John Rager, kindly provides him with a 10-minute crash course on how to use the 35 mm Leica camera - among the most sophisticated of the era. The exchange gives Rosella, a quiet sophomore, a sense of self-assurance that joyfully propels him into the task.

Out on the streets of Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood, Rosella turns his lens on the jubilee. He snaps images of parade spectators squinting in the sun, flowered floats cruising down Bellefield Avenue and girls dancing the cancan. He also manages to capture the buzzing energy of the annual carnival that heralds the arrival of warmer weather on campus. He shoots into the twilight.