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 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 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 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

Apr 2 2012: Seventeen Varieties Of Tents Named After British Birds (from Bukta Campedia Catalogue, 1960)

A 1960 edition of the Bukta Campedia – a sort of general catalogue of camping equipment – manages a certain poetry in its adoption of the common names of British birds for its various models of tent, here presented in a hand drawn format, their variations on the temporary architectural theme united by being coloured … 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

Mar 29 2012: Ten Postcards Showing A Variety Of Traditional And Modern Views Of Japan (1960s)

This isn’t the first time Japan has figured here, and earlier representaions were mainly drawn from the envelope of souvenirs collected by a certain Mr Ernest Dring, of Attenborough, Nottinghamshire, who – on the evidence of those contents – had a busy 1964, taking in the Tokyo Olympics and Milan, as a bare minimum in … Continue reading

Mar 27 2012: Fourteen Colour Illustrations and Photographs From Girl Annual Number Nine (1961)

The final gallery in this series culled from the pages of Girl Annual draws together an array of colour illustrations from the 1961 annual, including the annual’s first-ever photographic cover image, as seen above, and a series of frames from the comic strips Belle of the Ballet and Susan of St Bride’s. Accompanied by a … Continue reading