Apr 19 2012: Painting Sunsets by Violet Parkhurst (Walter T Foster Publications, 1960s)

Although it’s something of a cliche to claim the general public neither understands nor likes conceptual art, or contemporary art that doesn’t show evidence of traditional skill, seeing such work as a species of charlatanry, I’m not sure the theory stands up when it’s examined in more detail. The guide to painting sunsets seen above … Continue reading

Apr 18 2012: The “Mr Universe” Magazine Giant Body Beautiful Issue Featuring Clarence Ross (1950s)

American masculinity has always been a curious creature, with its more regressive manifestations generally among the nation’s most blatantly homoerotic cultural forms: perhaps it’s a submerged consciousness of this blurring between extreme machismo and ‘lavender leanings’ that underlies much of the anti-gay discourse that surrounds images like the one above, a 1950s portrait of bodybuilder … Continue reading

Apr 17 2012: Two Illustrations Showing the Atom and its Nucleus from The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar (Burke, 1957)

Following yesterday’s sequence of advertising pages from Atomics Magazine (1956) these two images cut to the heart of what all that hardware was in pursuit of: the latent power of the atom itself and its nucleus, as expressed through Einstein’s E equals MC squared equation (surely one of very few equations to be known outside … Continue reading

Apr 16 2012: Eight Kitsch Dream Images by Salvador Dali (Coronet Magazine, 1950)

Coronet magazine seems to have been, in format and approach, an attempt to imitate the success of Reader’s Digest. In among its pages of amusing anecdotes, abridged stories and other human interest material fairly typical of its time, however, are some intriguing advertisements and a definite curveball, given the journal’s otherwise rather conservative idiom, in … Continue reading

Apr 15 2012: Eighteen Monochrome Illustrations From Atomics Magazine (Leonard Hill Technical Publications, 1956)

Back in 1956, the progressive vision of the Festival of Britain had faded somewhat, with most of the South Bank site demolished by the Conservative governments that followed the set up of the 1945 consensus, and in place of that more whimsical and social kind of progressive ideal, a harder, more technocratic and businesslike version … Continue reading

Apr 9 2012: Twenty-Five Monochrome Photographs and Illustrations from The Astronaut Book (Panther Books, 1969)

The final selection of images from Panther’s 1969 annual, The Astronauts’ Book, gathers the extraordinary array of monochrome illustrations contained between the glossy covers. Unaltered by the volume’s previous owner, there is material here that, as an inveterate reader of Space Race literature, I’d never seen before, and if one image conjures both the idealism … Continue reading

Apr 8 2012: Nineteen Colour Photographs and Illustrations from The Astronaut Book (Panther Books, 1969)

Following yesterday’s gallery of hand-coloured photographs from Panther’s 1969 publication The Astronauts’ Book, here are a selection of nineteen of the book’s colour photographs, ranging from shots taken on a space walk to images of astronauts being fitted in space suits (one curious fact I discovered awhile back is that the suits eventually used were … Continue reading

Apr 7 2012: Nine Hand-Coloured Illustrations From The Astronaut Book (Panther Books, 1969)

Over the next three days we’ll look at the monochrome and colour images featured in the pages of The Astronauts’ Book, an annual-style publication issued by Panther in the UK in 1969, the year of the Lunar landings. Comprising articles written (or, at least, ghostwritten) in the voices of actual astronauts (and the odd Soviet … Continue reading

Apr 4 2012: Twenty-Five Photographs from Bell and Howell 1623 Super/Standard 8mm Projector Instruction Manual (1970s)

Bell & Howell were one of the leading manufacturers of consumer equipment for slide and film projection, and these images are taken from a 1960s or 70s instruction manual that shows how to prepare and thread film, generally operate and maintain their 1623 model Super/Standard home projector. Based in the United States, the company’s history … Continue reading

Apr 1 2012: Eleven Postcards Showing Airlines And Aircraft Of The World (1960s – 1980s)

Until the sell-offs of national aviation companies during the 1980s, such as the wholesale privatisation of BA in the UK and the contracting out of such infrastructures as Air Traffic Control and baggage handling in the US (the latter had rather more to do with facilitating the 9/11 attacks than apologists for cost-cutting privatisation have … Continue reading