Apr 26 2012: Thirty-One Monochrome Photographs from The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar (Burke Publishing, 1957)

The Boys’ Book of Radio, Television and Radar was published in 1957 as an accessible schools-level guide to the latest technology in the field mapped by the book’s title, covering everything from missile guidance systems to astronomical installations, the BBC’s outside broadcast equipment to medical imaging techniques and the gigantic installations around the country that … 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 12 2012: A Portrait of Harry Wheatcroft (Illustration on Celluloid for an Unknown Magazine, 1970s)

A curious item, this image reproduces as best I can the image on a reddish-tinted celluloid sheet containing a photographic transfer of a watercolour portrait of Harry Wheatcroft, the Nottingham-born celebrity horticulturalist and 70s media entrepreneur whose name became synonymous with commercial rose-growing, and whose garden centre, Wheatcrofts, still trades on the edge of the … Continue reading

Mar 18 2012: Thirty-Seven Colour Photographs Of America from National Geographic Magazine (1948)

The final gallery culled from the pages of National Geographic in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War features America itself, turning the camera on its own idiosyncrasies and people. Interestingly, the modernity in images from food safety and product testing laboratories is placed in contrast to folksier views of 4-H club participants in … Continue reading

Mar 13 2012: Beyond The Suspension of Disbelief (Surface Gallery, Nottingham, March 2012)

Baldassare Castiglione, a diplomat at the Italian court of Urbino in the late 15th and early 16th century, began writing The Book of the Courtier around 1508, as a kind of aspirational lifestyle guide for those intent on making their fortunes and careers in the field he had succeeded in himself. When the book was published … Continue reading

Feb 26 2012: Monochrome Photograph of Six Businessmen With Flowers (October 31st 1957)

Much of the dissatisfaction with the world of business in 2012 comes less from a critique of the capitalist system itself as a sense that the motives of those running it have changed: there’s a real case to answer, since following the deregulation of the City in 1986 financial engineering of various kinds tended to … Continue reading

Feb 25 2012: Tinted Portrait of an Eccentric Family with a Small Dog (Date and location unknown, c.1960s)

I’m not sure what the context for this strange photograph actually is, except that it appears to show two or possibly three generations of a family and their dog at some point during the 1960s or 1970s. The appearance of the group seems modelled on a publicity shot for a sitcom, emphasising their quirks and eccentricities, … Continue reading

Jan 23 2012: A Gallery of Forty-Seven Images from an ABC of Space (ITV Publications, 1969)

Published in advance of the Moon Landings in 1969, this annual-style book (a tie-in with the ITV childrens’ programme Magpie written by ITN’s science editor Peter Fairley with a brief introduction from one of the show’s presenters, Pete Brady) covers the ongoing story of the space programme using the device of an A to Z to cover … Continue reading

Jan 20 2012: Domestic Interiors from Golden Homes Magazine (Marshall Cavendish, 1972)

These 1970s interiors are not, it has to be said, from the higher end of the design spectrum, where the likes of Verner Panton and Dieter Rams are rightly celebrated, but from a Marshall Cavendish partwork which went through three print runs during the decade: first in 1972, then in 1974 and 1976. These magazines were … Continue reading

Jan 10 2012: Nine Monochrome and Colour Snapshots Showing British Stock Car Racing (1970)

These nine photographs all came from the same album of snaps put together by a British couple in a scrapbook and dated 1970 – 1971. The collection as a whole shows mainly holidays of a very period kind: a canal boating trip, caravan parks and visits to zoos and other key 1970s attractions. Presumably the cost … Continue reading