Vintage

Exploring Shorpy

i haven’t visited Shorpy in a long time, but since i’ve been enjoying the latest seasons of period dramas like Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire lately i thought it was time for a deep browsing session. it’s remarkable to see how rapidly things changed at the turn of the century (this is all i kept thinking when watching the season finale of Downton Abbey – how weird to see the characters in the context of a roaring twenties dance club). these photos are in chronological order and range from 1900 through to 1977, and though they are by no means comprehensive or representative of all those decades it’s still pretty cool to see how time goes by. it’s also interesting to see how photos changed when cameras became a staple of every home – a lot of vacation pics and posing in front of cars.

all images courtesy of Shorpy.

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Mark Shaw

you’re probably familiar with the work of fashion & celebrity photographer Mark Shaw, who was especially well known for his collection of photographs of the Kennedys. he shot over 100 stories in his 16 year career with LIFE magazine in the 1950s & 60s, and was one of the first photographers who documented backstage fashion at couture shows like Balmain and Balenciaga. if you’re feeling flush you can buy limited edition original prints of his work from the Andrew Wilder gallery. Here are some of my favourite stories he covered.

Audrey Hepburn

Portraits for LIFE Magazine of Hepburn while filming Sabrina. This entire shoot had lingered forgotten for more than fifty years in a box at the home of Mark’s first wife and were rediscovered in 2008. Initially Audrey Hepburn did all she could to avoid Mark Shaw’s cameras. When she realized they shared intense devotion to their work, she began to treat him like a member of the family.

Jackie Kennedy & family

These images were taken for an assignment from LIFE magazine about Jackie Kennedy which ran in 1959 while JFK was making his White House run. In the late 1950′s and early 1960′s Mark Shaw worked extensively as the “unoffical” family photographer to Jackie and John F. Kennedy.

Coco Chanel

Chanel was quoted at the time as saying that “Shaw had crept as close to her as anyone is likely to get with their LEICA on”. Shaw’s informal, grainy, black and white images of Chanel were captured using an unobtrusive 35 mm camera and film processing methods that enabled him to eliminate all other photographic equipment. The result is a highly personal and intimate look into a day in the life of this iconic woman.

Various artists - PicassoChagall, Fernand Leger & Miro

backstage at Balmain, 1954

various fashion editorials photographed in St. Tropez, Paris, Portofino

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Nemadji Pottery

one of the things i’d like to do at home is build up my ceramics & glassware collection. i’ve been buying a few knick knacks here and there, which is always a slow process as you tend to find them sporadically (and need to resist the urge to buy an entire collection that you won’t necessarily love years down the line). so when i spotted these colourful marbled pots on Etsy i kind of fell in love, and did a bit of reading up on their origin. found this little piece of Fab.com which explains,

Nemadji pottery is that early 20th century invention that somehow got mixed up with a Native American tribe. The Minnesota-based Nemadji pottery company began manufacturing this colorful, swirled pottery in 1929 and promoted it as being “Indian inspired.” Over the years, advertising became truth in the minds of many, leading to mistaken claims over authentic Native American pottery.

i would probably end up filling my house with these, if only i could get my hands on some locally. you can find them on Etsy and eBay – click on the pictures to be taken to the source (some of them are already sold, unfortunately!)

 

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New York in the 80s

i still haven’t been to new york. right now it’s a matter of saving saving saving so i can get there one day. every time i’m tempted by a beautiful piece of furniture or a new jacket i think, must save for new york. in the meantime i’m living vicariously through other people’s new york related stories, photos, films… which is why i so enjoyed browsing through New York In the 80s, a collection of photographs by Steven Siegel.

I’ve been photographing the streets and subways of New York for the past 30 years. When young people today look at my shots from the 1980’s, they are aghast. To them, New York of the 1980’s is almost unrecognizable. And they are right.

that’s just an excerpt from Steven’s thoughts about this moment in time that he captured and so generously shared – read the rest here and check out the his other sets for more NY related photography.

“with a flourish the waitress leaves behind rearrange smears”

all photographs by Steven Siegel.

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The Art of Vogue Covers

i was given a wonderful gift recently from Anton’s gran, who was cleaning out her book collection and came upon an old copy of The Art of Vogue Covers. it details the illustrated covers of British Vogue from 1909 through to 1940, including the entire collection of covers between 1920-1930. i was only familiar with a few of the illustrated Vogue covers (a handful of which were turned into posters and probably hang in many a college dorm room), so i thought i’d scan in some of my favourites and share them with you.

most of the work showcased in the book are by seasoned Vogue illustrators Helen Dryden, Georges Lepap, Harriett Maserol, George Plank and Eduardo Benito amongst others. if you’d like to see more please let me know and i’ll continue adding them to the flickr collection, this is literally just the tip of the iceberg.

see them all here.

 

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Take Your Pleasure Seriously

when you look at pictures of Charles and Ray Eames one of the best things about this talented and innovative couple is that they really looked like they always had so much fun together. which is why i wasn’t surprised when i stumbled upon some Life Magazine pics of a range of toys that they designed in the early fifties. the Eames’ didn’t have children of their own (Charles had a daughter with his first wife) but I could imagine that if they ever did they would have created an amazing world for them to play in.

did you know that Ray died ten years to the day after Charles did? Another lovely factoid is that they used to serve bowls of flowers to their dinner guests as a “visual dessert”. If you want to know more about them and their extraordinary body of work you should watch the PBS documentary Eames: the Architect and the Painter.

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Matching Shoes

i suppose i have been kind of shoe obsessed around here lately – and this is of course because i am truly shoe obsessed in real life at the moment. at the moment? all. the.time. it’s quite difficult finding really nice (affordable) shoes in south africa, so that’s why a lot of my internet daydreaming is shoe related.

this editorial was shot by nina leen in 1946 for life magazine. as you can see the theme is matching shoes… and i mean literally matching to your outfit – not just matching your shoes to your handbag (which i find pretty ridiculous and outdated, let them clash i say). it’s a really fun and fashion-forward editorial considering this was the mid-fourties, and i wouldn’t mind snapping up the plaid booties in the second to last image… but i’d keep the hat at home.

all images courtesy of the life image archives.

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Love Music Wine & Revolution

love music wine and revolution is a great source for vintage lovers and visual aesthetes alike. the author shares screencaps from her favourite old movies, which is pretty handy for those of us who need vintage film recommendations (i for one haven’t seen any of the films featured on the blog) and, you know, they’re pretty great to look at. she runs a very attractive similarly themed tumblr too.

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