Apr 3 2012: Accessories including Sleeping Bags, Swimwear, Slacks and Anoraks from the Bukta Campedia Catalogue (1960)

Following yesterday’s gallery of tents, mainly named after British birds and designed in a kind of unconscious anticipation of minimalist systems art of the kind circulated by Sol LeWitt, these images draw on the rest of the goods on offers in the 1960 Bukta Campedia catalogue of camping wares. The contrast in style is intriguing, with tents seen in action, as full colour photographs, very fifties pin-up girls (and the kind of fathers who seem destined to smoke briar pipes at the age of twenty-six) illustrating the swimwear, and a display of sleeping bags whose quilted forms read on the page as something akin to Egyptian sarcophogi, their shapes echoing those of coffins in a slightly uncanny fashion. That all this was essentially at the service of healthy outdoor pursuits in an age when overseas holidays remained the preserve of the privileged and wealthy is of a certain social interest, too, and it’s perhaps fascinating to note that these lower middle class camping styles – in an age of mass tourism to foreign climates – are now being revived as the fashionable choice of many among the better off, even as cheap package trips to Spain, Greece and the like are regarded sniffily in a sort of inversion of 1960’s own hierarchy of holiday status.

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