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, pipe and … 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

Mar 30 2012: Ghosts At Leisure: Thirteen Negative Prints Showing Everyday Scenes (c.1960s)

These images are printed negatives on small photographic cards, and they show various members of my own family, before I was born, in a terraced back yard with the two retired pit ponies my mother had as a young woman, and my father, mother, aunt, grandfather and grandmother on holiday in some unknown location, probably … Continue reading

Mar 22 2012: Seven Snapshots from Everyday Life United By Their Square Format (c.1960s)

If yesterday’s gallery of children was unified by nothing beyond the subject, today’s equally random gallery is unified only by the square format of the photographs: the subject matter veers from a man in an aqualung and another posing on a beach in swimming trunks to a woman standing beside a window and an elderly … Continue reading

Mar 10 2012: A View Of The Thames Looking Towards Tower Bridge Showing Bomb Sites (c.1940s)

There’s something hugely compelling about this undated photograph, which at first glance shows a very familiar view along the River Thames, looking towards Tower Bridge, but on slightly closer inspection reveals some very unfamiliar bomb-sites and gutted buildings in the foreground. The photographer is not identified, but it’s presumably an amateur snap taken from a … Continue reading

Mar 7 2012: Five Portraits Featuring an Unknown Dark-Haired Woman (c.1970s)

Ahead of a planned gallery of portraits to mark International Womens’ Day, I noticed that this particular lady turned up in several of the photographs I’d set aside to scan, creating her own sub-group of pictures within the larger group of female photographs: the odd thing is that I don’t recall these arriving together, or … Continue reading

Mar 6 2012: Six Photographs of Grottoes, Canyons and Other Rock Formations (from Unknown Encyclopedia, 1930s)

The interiors of bodies and geological formations have been fused together in a few of the visual equations of Robert Holcombe before now, and occur again (several times) in a series of poems I’ve been writing under the working title A Cycle of Songs for the Body’s Interior, modelled somewhat obliquely on the rather compelling seasonal songs produced … Continue reading

The Invisible Hand, Pupaphobia and the Puppet State (NVA 11, 2013)

“The puppet is what best represents the position of man in today’s manipulated world. The hand of a puppeteer is always the hand of one who ‘leads’, the hand of the Great Manipulator. The puppet’s immobile expression, its inability to mimic, does not allow it to communicate the subtle oscillations of the soul, but it … 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