Apr 28 2012: Monochrome Photograph of an Unidentified Yugoslav Sculptor with Bust of Tito and Child (c.1970s)

As a kind of brief aside to yesterday’s catalogue of monuments and sculptures from the former Yugoslavia, this small monochrome photograph offers a portrait of a sculptor from the same era and country, as found in the pages of the Treasures of Yugoslavia volume itself. Presumably dating from the same era, to judge by the … Continue reading

Apr 23 2012: A Postcard from Warsaw to The Secretaries of Sherwood Road (1977)

Mailed in the summer of 1977 and inscribed “to my lovely secretaries from sunny Warsaw”, there’s a wonderful inversion in this small postcard showing an almost generic 1970s scene of towerblocks and flyovers that could just as easily have been sent from Birmingham as from behind the iron curtain. Perhaps this just confirms the generic … Continue reading

Apr 20 2012: Fifteen Colour Photographs from a Souvenir Volume Documenting Socialist Czechoslovakia (CSSR, c.1957)

A girl releases a dove in the name of ‘joy and beauty’. Clean, new buildings rise in historic cities. Athletes and dancers perform mass synchronised routines on a sports field. Gleaming motorcycles promote the latest in industrial design while the steelworks and plants that enabled their construction are dynamically photographed, the camera granting factories and … Continue reading

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 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 14 2012: Cover Images from Comic Versions of The Odyssey and The Iliad by Homer (Classics Illustrated, 1960s)

How far does the value of a literary work reside in language and specific medium, how far in the story and broader ideas it contains? The question’s raised here by reductions (to around 25 pages each) of the two great epic poems of Homer, with each comic book acting more as a kind of compressed … Continue reading

Apr 13 2012: A Sheet of Six Moroccan Stamps (Collection de Timbres Post, Date Unknown)

A set of six used stamps on a postcard, showing variations on the image of a man I assume, from that ‘Royaume du Maroc’ tagline, to be the king of Morocco, though the general effect is not unlike Andy Warhol’s near-contemporary arrays of differently coloured silkscreen portraits of celebrities and collectors. Here, the King is … Continue reading

Apr 11 2012: Black Glass: Ten Glass Plate Negative Images of Architecture and Reversed Light (c.1930s)

Following on from yesterday’s gallery of domestic portraits, used as the raw material that eventually became the Black Glass sequence of poems, today’s gallery offers the unpopulated, architectural and urban landscapes of the later 1930s from the same collection of boxed glass-plate negative slides. Here, each image but one is developed twice – as both … Continue reading

Apr 10 2012: Black Glass: Fifteen Glass Plate Negative Portraits of Unknown People (Mainly 1940s)

Although not really recent finds, having been already used in early 2011 as the inspiration for a short sequence of poems on the loose subjects of cinema, memory and inverted perception, that earlier version didn’t include all the plates or subjects in the boxes as found. The figure above, with his Joycean round spectacles, pipeĀ and … 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