Apr 29 2012: Eighteen Plates from The Art of Macrame: Modern Design in Knotting by Joan Fisher (Hamlyn, 1972)

Despite both pre-dating and surviving the 1970s, the art of macrame is nevertheless almost entirely identified with the post-hippie decade in which handicrafts, self-sufficiency, nascent feminist politics and early ecological consciousness converged around the visual symbolism of the knotted string and woollen construction: whether a poncho, a chess set, a headband or – in one … 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 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

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

Mar 26 2012: Fifty-One Monochrome Illustrations From Girl Annual Number Nine (1961)

As can be seen below, the differences between the illustrations featured in Girl Annual in 1958 and those of three years later, in 1961, are fairly minimal, considering the social changes that were happening during the same period. True, the girl above is now on holiday in Amalfi rather than Cornwall, but the same escapades … Continue reading

Mar 25 2012: Forty-Three Monochrome Illustrations From Girl Annual Number Six (1958)

If yesterday’s images by Edward Mortelmans from the 1958 edition of Girl Annual seemed to draw inspiration from the paintings of Laura Knight, the forty-three sampled monochrome illustrations seen here have no such unifying element beyond being largely executed in line and wash, and seeming largely unchanged in format from the kind of images that … 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 20 2012: Fourteen Monochrome Photographs Showing Men In A Variety Of Roles and Locations (1900s – 1970s)

Talking to someone who’s been following these posts recently led to a point being made that I’d only half-noted myself: that there were far more images of women gathered here than of men. In commercial and advertising photography, the reasons for that imbalance are well-rehearsed, insofar as commercial messages aimed at women tend to present … 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 16 2012: Twenty-Three Colour Photographs Of India And Saudi Arabia From National Geographic Magazine (1948)

Perhaps this gallery is the most intriguing of the five currently being culled from a series of 1948 issues of National Geographic magazine, partly because one of its subjects, the early years of oil production in Saudi Arabia, prefigures much that happened later in the post-war period. As the poisonous gases in the image above … Continue reading