Apr 24 2012: A Gallery Showing Six Generic Soviet Union Paper Record Sleeve Designs (Melodija, 1960s)

These paper record sleeves, produced by various regional branches of the Soviet Union’s state record label, Melodija, were made to provide generic covers inside which pretty much any type of music might be housed, whether classical, folk, jazz, pop or Red Army choirs. In some respects, these generic sleeves are the equivalents of the 7″ … 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 22 2012: Four Hand-Painted Maps Of Socialist Czechoslovakia With Folklore Motifs (CSSR, 1957)

Appearing as endpapers in a 1957 pictorial publication showing early Communist Czechoslovakia these four maps offer a striking contrast – in tone and style, at least – to the photographs making up most of the book. The principle appears to be that the main map (seen above) is then separated into its component parts in … Continue reading

Apr 21 2012: Twenty-Nine Monochrome Photographs from a Souvenir Volume Documenting Socialist Czechoslovakia (CSSR, c.1957)

From the same 1957 publication as yesterday’s gallery of colour images, these monochrome plates show life in the then relatively new Communist state of Czechoslovakia as idealised and in the service of State propaganda, as though addressing the outside world from the Ministries of a kind of earthly paradise. Yet as with yesterday’s colour photographs’ … 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 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 6 2012: Eight Monochrome Photographs Showing British Parades (1940s – 1950s)

I’m not sure if these images show scenes from one or more parades and occasions, though it’s clear that the photographs fall into three basic groups, the first showing a quasi military parade (possibly made up of amateur rather than real troops), the second a series of floats trying to raise money for charity, and … Continue reading

Apr 5 2012: Five Monochrome Photographs From An Archaeological Excavation (c.1960s)

There’s no indication on (or in, so far as I can tell) when or where these photographs were taken, though it’s obvious that they document an archaeological dig of some kind: and judging by the depth of the excavation, seen to have various levels within the images, quite a serious one at that. The permutations … Continue reading

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, … Continue reading